Sunday, 6 March 2011

A Room With A View by E M Forster

A Room with a View is one of Forster’s lighter books – but it is still infused with humour and wit and offers a satirical dissection of the middle class both at home and abroad.

Lucy Honeychurch visits Italy with her uptight Aunt Charlotte as her chaperone. Charlotte is constantly alert to the rules that should be followed – not mixing with “unsuitable” people, being wary of foreigners, not allowing Lucy to go anywhere unaccompanied, etc. But despite her best efforts things go awry.

It is the old story. Girl meets boy but rejects his advances. She meets much more suitable and conventional boy and agrees to marry him. Continues to reject first suitor….but does she protest too much?

Mrs Honeychurch is the archetypal middle class snob. “If books must be written, let them be written by men,” she says. All the characters are well drawn but young George Emerson is beautifully described. Was the author in love with him?

I was intrigued by the quotation painted on Emerson’s wardrobe in the Florence hotel: “Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes.” How wise….

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