A Room with a View


E. M. Forster

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A Room with a View Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on E. M. Forster's A Room with a View. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of E. M. Forster

E.M. Forster was born in London on January 1st, 1879. His father died when he was young, and after school he went to King’s College, Cambridge in 1897. There, he became a member of the Cambridge Apostles, an exclusive intellectual society. After finishing university, he started writing novels, completing his first in 1905. He traveled throughout Europe and also spent some time in India. In his writings, he explored early 20th-century English society and its contradictions, as he does in A Room With a View, published in 1908. Forster found greater success, though, with his novel Howards End in 1910. During World War I, Forster volunteered in Egypt and afterwards spent more time in India. While in England, he was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of London writers and intellectuals including Virginia Woolf. In 1924, drawing on his own experiences in India, Forster published perhaps his best known novel, A Passage to India, which explores the experiences of British colonists and Indians during the British colonial occupation of India. Forster spent his later years in England, continuing to write short stories and essays (but no more novels) until his death in 1970. He garnered much fame and recognition as an author during his lifetime, and was even offered a knighthood (he declined) and awarded the Order of Merit. Today, he is remembered as one of the most important British novelists of the 20th century.
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Historical Context of A Room with a View

Forster’s novel was likely influenced by his own travels abroad in Italy and Europe. Additionally, the novel is set in the Edwardian period of English history, during the first decade of the 20th century. This was a transitional moment for Great Britain, as the nation moved gradually from the strict, somewhat repressive norms of Victorian society toward the full-blown modernity of the 20th century. The conflict between old and new in this historical moment is a prevalent tension throughout the novel.

Other Books Related to A Room with a View

While the novel is not significantly influenced by any one particular work, Forster’s narration repeatedly refers to classical Greek mythology. The novel can also be seen in relation to the popular genres of travel writing and romance novels. A Room With a View offers a more critical, literary take on these kinds of writings.
Key Facts about A Room with a View
  • Full Title: A Room with a View
  • When Written: 1901-1908
  • Where Written: Italy and England
  • When Published: 1908
  • Literary Period: The Edwardian period, modernism
  • Genre: Novel, romance.
  • Setting: Florence, Italy; England.
  • Climax: After breaking off her engagement with Cecil but still not acknowledging her love for George, Lucy runs into Mr. Emerson in the church, and he convinces her to follow her heart and realize her true feelings for George.
  • Antagonist: Cecil Vyse; traditional British society.

Extra Credit for A Room with a View

A View of the Big Screen. In 1985, Forster’s novel was adapted into an Academy Award-winning film, starring Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch.