Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

If you've only ever seen the film adapted, very faithfully, from the novella A Room With a View, I strongly suggest you read the novella and savor the words that inspired the modern movie classic.  From the written text, you gain insight into the thoughts of the characters, and you can appreciate the sardonic point of view of Mr. Forster.

Italophiles can savor the setting, and feel nostalgia for the Grand-Tour of the turn-of-the-century well-to-do.  We can appreciate the contrast between warm, sensual Italy, and the cool, restrained northern Europeans.  Forster combined the two natures expertly, and very attractively, in the character of George Emerson, the archetypal leading man:  brains, heart, and a manly nature.

The story is simple, really.  A woman struggles with society and herself, finally choosing to marry for love.  It may not sound too amazing in western countries in this day and age, but in the west at the turn-of-the-century (and in most of the world today), that was a rarity.

A Room With A View is a novella of just over 100 pages.  And yet E. M. Forster's impeccable style and sharp wit makes each line worth at least twenty in any other novel, for the pleasure and punch they offer the reader.

Here is the trailer for the 1985 film made from the book:

Visit the Room With a View page at my Italian culture website, (Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site), for lots of fun quotes from the novella, and links to the chapters so you can read them on-line on my website.  An extra bonus is the free PDF e-book I offer.
 Direct link to free PDF e-book:  Room With A View

Or you can download the book from Project Gutenberg, the grand-daddy of free e-book sites, in various e-book formats.

If you have a good sense of humor, and enjoy bawdy English humor especially, you'll love the Merchant-Ivory-spoof film Stiff Upper Lips from writer/director Gary Sinyor.  Peter Ustinov is at his comic best in it, and all the other cast members are wonderful, too.  My husband enjoys this film, and says it is his reward for sitting through the original Merchant-Ivory pictures with me.

You can purchase it , along with the Room With a View film, and paperback editions of Forster's novella A Room With a View.  Here are links to the products at

This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

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