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Miss Lavish

Posted by Paul ( on :14:56:32 02/10/02

Are there any authors that served as patterns for "Miss Lavish" in "Room with a View"?

one author

Posted by Laura (board editor) on 21:15:08 05/10/02

Hi Paul,

Yes, actually she was based on one particular author. This was Emily Spender, whom Forster and his mother met in a 'pensione' in Italy - where they travelled for over a year -and they thought her rather 'gushing'. Lily, Forster's mother, wrote home that Miss Spender was of the type who would sail into the pension after dinner, crying that she had passed a dark alley where she'd seen a man with a lantern standing, starting this story with "I had such an adventure...!" Emily Spender was a novelist, and one of her books - one that had an Italian setting - was for sale in the hotel, with various copies laid out on a table in the hall. Later in his life, when Forster was confronted with the irony of 'Lavish Spender', he said he had never realised the connection between the two names. But it seems he subconsciously had. If you are interested in reading about the precursors of Miss Lavish, you might want to try to obtain a copy of 'The Lucy Novels' at a library - this book contains the sketches for 'A Room with a View' and is very interesting, also because it deals with Florence in much detail.
Good luck!

"The Lucy Novels"

Posted by Andrew ( on 10:17:03 04/12/03

Hi Laura!
I have tried for years now to purchase a copy of the "Lucy Novels" but it seems to be impossible - there was only a very small limited edition, and no reprint. Do you perhaps know where one could get a copy for sure?

Emily Spender

Posted by Elizabeth Crawford ( on :17:35:42 21/08/05

Emily Spender (1841-1922) was a leading light of the women's suffrage society in Bath in the 1880s. She was great aunt of the poet, Sir Stephen Spender. The book on sale at the pension may have been 'The Law Breakers', published 1903, which 'paints the la;mentable position of a middle-class, middle-aged woman trapped at home with her mother in Bath, until death and inheritance release her to discover the pleasures of Vicenza' (E. Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, Routledge, 2001, p 650)


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