Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries many English citizens travelled to Italy and even settled there. Some went for the warmer climate, others because it was a cheaper place to live. However, many of these travellers refused to really adapt to an Italian life-style. In A Room with a View, E.M. Forster makes superb comedy from the contrasts.
Although I recognise that A Room with a View is not as great or complex a novel as is A Passage to India, I do prefer it. I love the book’s contrasts between an uptight English Edwardian village and the passion and beauty of Italy, I love the way music is used to tell us so much about character, and I always laugh over Charlotte Bartlett who is just like one of my own relatives.
Join me as we delve into Forster’s very repressed life, analyse the importance of ‘views’, and follow Lucy as she escapes being one of “the vast army of the benighted, who follow neither the heart nor the brain, and march to their destiny by catchwords.” And you can top it all off by watching that gorgeous film version, just one more time …
Here are some convenient links for E.M. Forster & A Room with a View.
E. M. Forster: A Biography by Harry T. Moore
Morgan: Biography of E.M. Forster/em> by Nicola Beauman
A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster by Wendy Moffat
E.M. Forster and His World by Francis King
E.M. Forster: A Life by P.N. Furbank
You might like to watch this Zeffirelli film on DVD for a depiction of English people living in Florence before WWII. While it is clearly later in period than A Room with a View, you still get a good sense of English cafes, afternoon teas and a desperate clinging to English ways amongst the expatriates there. And it is a lovely film to watch!
Tea with Mussolini by Franco Zeffirelli, 1985 NBC Australia MOVIE ADAPTATION – high definition rental on YouTube movies
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