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A Room with a View

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Plot

Room with a View, A Click here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _A Room with a View_., a novel by E. M. *Forster published 1908.

It opens in an English pensione in Florence with a confrontation between Lucy Honeychurch's chaperone Miss Bartlett and the upstart Mr Emerson and his son George; the two men generously, but in Miss Bartlett's view indecorously, offer to exchange rooms, in order to give the ladies the benefit of a room with a view, a favour which they reluctantly accept. The novel describes the inmates of the Pensione Bertolini, among them the clergyman Mr Beebe and the 'original' lady novelist Miss Lavish, and their reactions to Italy and to one another. Lucy, an impressionable and artistic but immature girl, is disturbed first by witnessing a street murder, and then by an impulsive embrace from George Emerson during an excursion to Fiesole. Miss Bartlett removes her charge from these dangers, and the two return to Summer Street, in Surrey, where Lucy becomes engaged to a cultured dilettante, Cecil Vyse, whom Mr Beebe, who has reappeared as the local vicar, ominously describes as 'an ideal bachelor'. The Bertolini cast continues to reassemble as the Emersons take a villa in the neighbourhood. Lucy comes to realize that she loves George, not Cecil, hut it takes her some time to extricate herseif (helped, unexpectedly, by Miss Bartlett) from what she describes as 'the muddle'. The second half of the drama is played against a sharply and intimately observed background of tennis and tea parties and amateur piano recitals; it ends in the Pensione Bertolini, with George and Lucy on their honeymoon.

As in *Where Angels Fear to Tread Click here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _Where Angels Fear to Tread_., Forster satirizes the English abroad, criticizes the sterility, snobbery, and 'witty weariness' of the self-consciously cultured, and describes Italy itself as a liberating vision. Summer Street, however, is seen with much more affection than Sawston, and the easy-going Mrs Honeychurch (based on Forster's maternal grandmother) and Lucy's brother Freddy are portrayed with sympathy. The moments of abandon - George's embrace in a field of violets, the naked bathing party in a pool in the Surrey woods (ch. 12) - are handled with a light touch that does not disturb the comedy of manners.

(Text from Drabble, Margaret. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. Oxford, New York: OUP, 1998.; © Margaret Drabble and Oxford University Press 1985, 1995; cited here by permission of Oxford University Press.)

Film Adaption

A Room with a View Click here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _A Room with a View_. (1986) was directed by James Ivory, adaption for film by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

"How the book and film compare: The film is remarkably faithful to its source material, with whole scenes lifted almost verbatim from the page. Many of the chapter headings are retained, used as Brecht-style structural devices. The film does, however, dilute Forster's political concerns; all mention of Emerson's socialism is removed.

Inspirations and influences: A Room With a View proved a landmark in the rise of the British costume movie. Films like The Go-Between (1971), Tess (1979) and The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) concentrated on serious-minded sexual subtexts; the deftness of Merchant Ivory's comic touch meant A Room With a View operated almost independently of historical context, and more like a mainstream romantic comedy. It paved the way for a revived interest in other comic narratives, principally the Jane Austen revival of the 1990s, with Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Emma (1996)" (Pulver).

Cast overview, first billed only: Maggie Smith - Charlotte Bartlett, Helena Bonham Carter - Lucy Honeychurch, Denholm Elliott - Mr. Emerson, Julian Sands - George Emerson, Simon Callow - The Reverend Mr. Beebe, Patrick Godfrey (I) - The Reverend Mr. Eager, Judi Dench - Miss Lavish, Fabia Drake - Miss Catharine Alan, Joan Henley - Teresa Alan, Amanda Walker (I) - The Cockney Signora, Daniel Day-Lewis - Cecil Vyse, Maria Britneva - Mrs. Vyse, Rosemary Leach - Mrs. Honeychurch, Rupert Graves - Freddy Honeychurch, Peter Cellier - Sir Harry Otway, ....; runtime: 117 min.; country: UK; language: English; colour: colour (Technicolor); sound: Dolby; certification: Argentina:13, Finland:S, Sweden:11, UK:PG.



Resources



Image: Cover of A Room with a View.

On-line material

bullet Article: Andrew Pulver, "Adaptation of the week No. 69 A Room with a ViewClick here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _A Room with a View_. (1985)," Guardian Unlimited 30 July 2005. (Short article about the film, including information about the makers, how the book and film compare and about inspirations and influences.)

bullet E-text: A Room with a View Click here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _A Room with a View_. (Free, unabridged) at the University of Michigan.

bullet E-text: Language of the document: Norwegian. Et rom med utsikt (A Room with a View oversatt til norsk av A. G. Rubio & H. Kirkman)

bullet Audio book: A Room with a View Click here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _A Room with a View_. (Free, abridged) at Yahoo.

bullet On-line project: Bjørn Smestad's A Room with a View homepage Click here to read the free, unabridged electronic version of _A Room with a View_. (Everything concerning the motion picture.)

 
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