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Room with a View, A

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: John Rhode to Jack [Morris] Rosenthal Biography

a novel by E. M. Forster, published in 1908. The opening scene takes place in the Pensione Bertolini, in Florence, where Lucy Honey-church, a charmingly naïve young Englishwoman, her chaperone, Miss Bartlett, and an assortment of other English visitors are staying. Amongst these are the unconventional Mr Emerson and his son George, who, learning that the room which Lucy and her companion are sharing has no view of the city, offer to exchange rooms—a gesture which, in Miss Bartlett's opinion, is somewhat indelicate. Lucy, however, persuades her to accept, and a relationship develops between the two young people, which culminates in the moment when, on an excursion to Fiesole, George kisses Lucy. Other guests at the pensione include the lady novelist Miss Lavish and the clergyman Mr Beebe, whom the ladies encounter on their return to Lucy's parents' home in the Surrey village of Summer Street, where he is the local vicar. Here, Lucy becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse, a cultivated, but essentially effete, dilettante. When the Emersons appear in the village, having taken a house there for a few months, Lucy gradually comes to realize that it is not Cecil she loves, but George. Constrained both by her innocence in affairs of the heart and by a feeling of obligation towards Cecil, she is prevented from telling George of her feelings until it is almost too late; only a timely intervention by Miss Bartlett brings matters to a satisfactory conclusion. The novel ends, with fitting symmetry, in the Pensione Bertolini, where George and Lucy are staying on their honeymoon.

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