A Room with a View is a 1908 novel by E. M. Forster. It is a love story and a critique of the restrained culture of Edwardian England. It was adapted into an award-winning film by Merchant Ivory in 1985.
The main character, Lucy Honeychurch is a young English woman who goes on vacation with her cousin and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett. They are staying at the Pensione Bertolini in Florence. They are disappointed because their rooms do not have a view of the river Arno as they had been promised. The other guests at the hotel include the Reverend Mr Beebe, two elderly spinster sisters, romance author Eleanor Lavish and freethinking Mr Emerson and his son George.
As their trip continues, Lucy begins to feel that the Emersons are like her and that she can connect with them on a different level than her more conservative cousin. Mr Emerson teaches Lucy to be more open and liberal with her views, and he emphasizes the importance of emotions. This contrasts with the more restricted and traditional English culture, which is highlighted by Charlotte.
During her time with the Emersons, Lucy also encounters the more traditional English tourists at the Pensione Bertolini. This reaffirms her belief that she cannot fit into the English way of life and leads to a breakdown in her relationship with Charlotte. After the Emersons help her to break free from her repressive world view, Lucy realizes she can be happy with a man who loves her, George.
The scene in which Lucy sings Donizetti’s operatic adaptation of Sir Walter Scott’s Bride of Lammermoor is also an important example of Forster’s use of a character’s world view as a metaphor for their outlook on life. The poor view of the courtyard represents her limited, restricted, and narrow world view at the beginning of the story. The more pleasant view of the courtyard symbolizes her new, more open and liberal world view.
Forster’s novel explores the difference between the English and Italian ways of life. The Italians are more relaxed about social norms and focus on being emotionally connected. The English are more concerned with what is proper by society’s standards. The scenes that take place at Santa Croce and the Emersons’ house exemplify this contrast.
The 1985 Merchant Ivory production of A Room with a View is an award-winning adaptation of the 1908 novel by E. M. Forster. The film stars Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch and Julian Sands as George Emerson. The film received critical acclaim and was a box-office success. The story is about a young English woman in the last days of her restrictive and repressed culture who falls for a man from the lower classes in Italy. It is a comedy of manners and an exploration of the need for human connection in a world full of rigid conventions. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won one. It was ranked 79th on The Modern Library’s list of 100 best novels of the 20th century.