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A Room With A View, a novella by E. M. Forster, from 1908


Quick Link: download a PDF copy of the book from this site


Quick Link:  Quotes Below





Enchanted April

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Read On-line HTML

Some Fun Quotes

Open/Download PDF edition

Window Posters/Wallpaper Murals


Click on a chapter title below to read the story on-line (HTML).  Alter the text size for on-line reading ease with your browser's 'View/Font Size' option.



Chapter I: The Bertolini

Chapter II: In Santa Croce with No Baedeker

Chapter III: Music, Violets, and the Letter "S"

Chapter IV: Fourth Chapter

Chapter V: Possibilities of a Pleasant Outing

Chapter VI: The Reverend Arthur Beebe, the Reverend Cuthbert Eager, Mr. Emerson, Mr. George Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett, and Miss Lucy Honeychurch Drive Out in Carriages to See a View; Italians Drive Them.

Chapter VII: They Return


Chapter VIII: Medieval

Chapter IX: Lucy As a Work of Art

Chapter X: Cecil as a Humourist

Chapter XI: In Mrs. Vyse's Well-Appointed Flat

Chapter XII: Twelfth Chapter

Chapter XIII: How Miss Bartlett's Boiler Was So Tiresome

Chapter XIV: How Lucy Faced the External Situation Bravely

Chapter XV: The Disaster Within

Chapter XVI: Lying to George

Chapter XVII:  Lying to Cecil

Chapter XVIII: Lying to Mr. Beebe, Mrs. Honeychurch, Freddy, and The Servants

Chapter XIX: Lying to Mr. Emerson

Chapter XX: The End of the Middle Ages



You can download the book for free, as a PDF document to be read with the Adobe Reader.  Click on this link to open the book I've created:  Room With A View Just click  here to go to the download site to get your free PDF Reader.  My version of the novella is a copy I've edited (removing scanning and editing errors only), from Project Gutenberg.  You can download the book from them in various formats for free.


If you'd like to view the film a bit to see if you want to buy it, here is a link to the first part (click on the arrow to start - sometimes it needs two clicks).  Click through to YouTube, to view the other parts.




Room With A View DVDs from



Books by E. M. Forster at



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.)

A Story for Italophiles

If you've only ever seen the film adapted, very faithfully, from this story, here's your chance to savor the words that inspired the modern classic movie.

From the written text, you gain insight into the thoughts of the characters, and 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.

I've collected some quotes below, for you to get a taste of what I mean.






Maria Callas singing Puccini's 'O babbino caro', best known from the film 'A Room With A View'. 

Click on the 'FREE' button to start the MP3 file via your Media Player.

(The title is wrong on the file and I'm still trying to figure out how to fix it, but the song is the right one!)


If you're a fan of other Merchant-Ivory films, or Maggie Smith films, Enchanted April for example, you can use this Search tool to find them at Amazon

Just enter 'DVD' in the 'Search' field, and 'Merchant Ivory' or an actor's name in the 'Keywords' field.  Then click on the 'Go' button to get a full listing, with comments and prices.

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Some Fun Quotes

"He is nice," exclaimed Lucy. "Just what I remember. He seems to see good in every one. No one would take him for a clergyman."  Rev. Beebe in Lucy's eyes.  pt. I, ch. 1

"Her sister was a little disappointed in Mr. Beebe, having expected better things from a clergyman whose head was bald and who wore a pair of russet whiskers. Indeed, who would have supposed that tolerance, sympathy, and a sense of humour would inhabit that militant form?"   Miss Alan's disappointment.  pt. I, ch. 3

"It was not that ladies were inferior to men; it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves. Indirectly, by means of tact and a spotless name, a lady could accomplish much. But if she rushed into the fray herself she would be first censured, then despised, and finally ignored. Poems had been written to illustrate this point."  A sarcastic statement of a popular opinion.  pt. I, ch. 4

"It is so difficult—at least, I find it difficult—to understand people who speak the truth."  The Reverend Arthur Beebe on the contradictions of his day.  pt. I, ch. 1

"The traveller who has gone to Italy to study the tactile values of Giotto, or the corruption of the Papacy, may return remembering nothing but the blue sky and the men and women who live under it."  How Italy corrupts, or at least distracts.  pt. I, ch. 2

"Neither the Ages of Faith nor the Age of Doubt had touched him; he was Phaethon in Tuscany driving a cab."  The man who made it all happen.  pt. I, ch. 6

"You know the American girl in Punch who says: 'Say, poppa, what did we see at Rome?' And the father replies: 'Why, guess Rome was the place where we saw the yaller dog.' There's travelling for you. Ha! ha! ha!" "  An English vicar's jab at Americans.  pt. I, ch. 6

"Italian in the mouth of Italians is a deep-voiced stream, with unexpected cataracts and boulders to preserve it from monotony. In Mr. Eager's mouth it resembled nothing so much as an acid whistling fountain which played ever higher and higher, and quicker and quicker, and more and more shrilly, till abruptly it was turned off with a click."  An English vicar in Florence.  pt. I, ch. 6

"Italians are born knowing the way. It would seem that the whole earth lay before them, not as a map, but as a chess-board, whereon they continually behold the changing pieces as well as the squares. Any one can find places, but the finding of people is a gift from God."  A view of Italians.  pt. I, ch. 6

"Pan had been amongst them--not the great god Pan, who has been buried these two thousand years, but the little god Pan, who presides over social contretemps and unsuccessful picnics."  Why the outing had gone wrong.  pt. I, ch. 7

"Liking one person is an extra reason for liking another."  Charlotte Bartlett repeating George Emerson’s view.  pt. I, ch. 7

"But after all, what have we to do with taverns? Real menace belongs to the drawing-room."  Charlotte's view of life.  pt. I, ch. 7

"He remained in the grip of a certain devil whom the modern world knows as self-consciousness, and whom the mediaeval, with dimmer vision, worshipped as asceticism."   Concerning Cecil Vyse.  pt. II, ch. 8

"So it happened that from patronizing civility he had slowly passed if not to passion, at least to a profound uneasiness."  Cecil's feelings for Lucy.  pt. II, ch. 8

"A rebel she was, but not of the kind he understood--a rebel who desired, not a wider dwelling-room, but equality beside the man she loved. For Italy was offering her the most priceless of all possessions--her own soul."  How Cecil did not understand Lucy.  pt. II, ch. 10

"The sadness of the incomplete—the sadness that is often Life, but should never be Art."  A lesson from music.  pt. II, ch. 11

"Mrs. Vyse was a nice woman, but her personality, like many another's, had been swamped by London, for it needs a strong head to live among many people."  On Mrs. Vyse's impersonal nature.  pt. II, ch. 11

"No one is perfect, and surely it is wiser to discover the imperfections before wedlock. Miss Bartlett, indeed, though not in word, had taught the girl that this our life contains nothing satisfactory. Lucy, though she disliked the teacher, regarded the teaching as profound, and applied it to her lover."  Lucy makes excuses for Cecil.  pt. II, ch. 13

"Life is easy to chronicle, but bewildering to practice, and we welcome "nerves" or any other shibboleth that will cloak our personal desire. She loved Cecil; George made her nervous; will the reader explain to her that the phrases should have been reversed?"  Why Lucy could not see.  pt. II, ch. 14

"We cast a shadow on something wherever we stand, and it is no good moving from place to place to save things; because the shadow always follows. Choose a place where you won't do harm--yes, choose a place where you won't do very much harm, and stand in it for all you are worth, facing the sunshine."  George Emerson's view.  pt. II, ch. 15

"Perhaps anything that he did would have pleased Lucy, but his awkwardness went straight to her heart; men were not gods after all, but as human and as clumsy as girls; even men might suffer from unexplained desires, and need help."  George proves he's human, to Lucy.  pt. II, ch. 15

"Men fall into two classes—those who forget views and those who remember them."  Ms. Lavish's view.  pt. II, ch. 15

"Paganism is infectious—more infectious than diphtheria or piety."  pt. II, ch. 15

"The contest lay not between love and duty. Perhaps there never is such a contest. It lay between the real and the pretended." Lucy lies to herself.  pt. II, ch. 16

"The armour of falsehood is subtly wrought out of darkness, and hides a man not only from others, but from his own soul. In a few moments Lucy was equipped for battle."  Lucy prepares to lie to George.  pt. II, ch. 16

"I'm the same kind of brute at bottom. This desire to govern a woman--it lies very deep, and men and women must fight it together before they shall enter the garden. But I do love you surely in a better way than he does."  George being honest.  pt. II, ch. 16

"I want you to have your own thoughts even when I hold you in my arms."  George's unconventional and outspoken view.  pt. II, ch. 16

"From a Leonardo she had become a living woman, with mysteries and forces of her own, with qualities that even eluded art."  Cecil sees Lucy for the first time, just as he's lost her.  pt. II, ch. 17

"The armies are full of pleasant and pious folk. But they have yielded to the only enemy that matters--the enemy within. They have sinned against passion and truth, and vain will be their strife after virtue. As the years pass, they are censured. Their pleasantry and their piety show cracks, their wit becomes cynicism, their unselfishness hypocrisy; they feel and produce discomfort wherever they go."  Lucy becomes like Charlotte Bartlett.  pt. II, ch. 17

"He had a theory that musicians are incredibly complex, and know far less than other artists what they want and what they are; that they puzzle themselves as well as their friends; that their psychology is a modern development, and has not yet been understood."  Rev. Beebe understands Lucy better than she knows.  pt. II, ch. 18

"His belief in celibacy, so reticent, so carefully concealed beneath his tolerance and culture, now came to the surface and expanded like some delicate flower. "They that marry do well, but they that refrain do better." "  Rev. Beebe's unspoken philosophy.  pt. II, ch. 18

"That there are shops abroad, even in Athens, never occurred to them, for they regarded travel as a species of warfare, only to be undertaken by those who have been fully armed at the Haymarket Stores."  The Miss Alans's view of travel.  pt. II, ch. 19

"She disliked confidences, for they might lead to self-knowledge and to that king of terrors--Light."  Why Lucy lied to everyone.  pt. II, ch. 19

"'Life' wrote a friend of mine, 'is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along.'  Mr. Emerson's philosophy.  pt. II, ch. 19

"It is easy to face Death and Fate, and the things that sound so dreadful. It is on my muddles that I look back with horror—on the things that I might have avoided."   Mr. Emerson's lament. pt. II, ch. 19

"He had robbed the body of its taint, the world’s taunts of their sting; he had shown her the holiness of direct desire."  What Mr. Emerson did for Lucy.  pt. II, ch. 19

"Why will men have theories about women? I haven't any about men."  Lucy's lament.  pt. II, ch. 20

The rooms with views of Florence come from two on-line booking sites for Italian rental properties and hotels:  Dolce Vita Villas (click twice), and the Now You Can Enjoy Florence site.


Hugh Grant and Jane Austen