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Old 02-21-2011, 10:03 PM   #1
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Discussion: A Room With A View by E. M. Forster

Let's discuss A Room With a View... the February book club selection.
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:02 AM   #2
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More or less the same period of time, the same book cover ...



I have a finer rendition
Spoiler:
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:44 AM   #3
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I thought it amazing how little tourists have changed over the years. Back then hiding behind their Baedekers, not being able to recognize and see beauty without a book telling them what beauty is. Still the same today - people standing in front of a famous painting, reading up about it in their travel guide and after reading they hardly spend the time to take in the real painting, before they move on to the next one that is recommended by their travel book.
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:26 PM   #4
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One of the rare times when the movie was better than the book.

For a long time I thought Baedeker was a character until I discovered it was a travel guide.;o)
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Old 02-22-2011, 05:50 PM   #5
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One of the rare times when the movie was better than the book.
I think there is merit in what you say. Although the book is enormously richer of the movie, in many ways that I am sure will appear from the discussion, but ...

From the book alone, I imagined Lucy in Florence, to be a very different person than what is represented in the movie. Not only physically, that's obvious. I imagined her as a light weight without much energy or sense. A bit lost. Obviously I was wrong. The movie gave her justice.

After having seen the movie, I went back to the book and again I was confirmed in my first impression. She just did not appear, to me of course.

Also George, from the book, in Florence does not appear much of anything, while the movie gives him depth. In the movie one can understand what he is and what he does (in Florence), not in the book.
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:25 PM   #6
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Yikes! Thanks for the reminder! I need to move it off my TBR pile to "Book Open" pile.
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Old 02-23-2011, 12:37 AM   #7
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This book surprised me - as a regular reader of Victorian literature (Trollope & Dickens), I wasn't quite expecting the transition in focus from the physical world of money and social expectations to the interior, mystical world of self-determination.

Some sections are marvelously written, and his dialogue is terrific, though the mystical mysteries of love grew a little convoluted for me. Trollope told this tale many times over: girl torn between the poor boy that she really likes, and the rich boy she should marry for advancement. But the emphasis on the social implications of her choice were personalized in a different way. Forster focuses on her internal dilemma, her "lying to herself," not what it could mean to her family's standing. Intriguing shift of emphasis from the nineteenth to the twentieth-century perspective.

I guess that's my roundabout way of saying that I liked the writing, but it did get a bit navel-gazing for me. In the end, without any real pressure from her family and friends and society to marry the rich guy (they almost shrugged it off when she finally broke it off with him), it felt like it didn't matter all that much to me either.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:37 AM   #8
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I hadn't read this in decades and I had forgotten how funny it is at first, the skewering of the pretensions of the upper middle class. But then.... once it got serious and we had to accept all the posturing about emotions and somehow that wasn't the stuff of satire, it lost me. A very mixed bag. I wish Forster had stuck with the comedy and had lost the message.
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Old 02-23-2011, 01:16 PM   #9
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I did like the movie better than the book, very rarely do I say that. For some reason the characters seemed to have more depth, especially George and Lucy (of course that lack of depth may have been Forrester's point, especially Lucy). I was kind of surprised by how little Lucy's family objected to her dumping Charles even though they didn't really like him. You would have thought her mother especially would have been more upset about the loss of social status (and the waste of money already spent on the wedding).

There is some wonderful dialogue in the book though. I loved Charles and Lucy's discussion about him being a room without a view. And of course how could you not love Mr. Emerson the elder.

Btw did anybody after reading this book have any doubt that Forrester was gay!
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Old 02-23-2011, 05:17 PM   #10
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I'm actually still reading this (I'm about 60% done - give or take), as I allowed myself to be led astray by other things; but, I don't mind "reading ahead" through the discussion here. I am happy to hear that she will not, in fact, marry Mr. V. I find him tedious and annoying.

I have never seen the movie. I may make a point of watching, now, especially if it is an Insta-watch option on Netflix.
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Old 02-24-2011, 06:11 AM   #11
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I am happy to hear that she will not, in fact, marry Mr. V. I find him tedious and annoying.
SPOILER ALERT - yes, I agree about Charles but he actually comes off better when Lucy dumps him. She seems petulant and immature and he responds with dignity and grace.

I actually find Lucy pretty immature through a lot of the story. She strikes me as being only about 16 or 17. Honestly the women in this story as a whole seem kind of immature. I wonder if that is a comment on the way Victorian Society stiffled growth in women or if Forrester just didn't like 'em all that much.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:30 AM   #12
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SPOILER ALERT - yes, I agree about Charles but he actually comes off better when Lucy dumps him. She seems petulant and immature and he responds with dignity and grace.

I actually find Lucy pretty immature through a lot of the story. She strikes me as being only about 16 or 17. Honestly the women in this story as a whole seem kind of immature. I wonder if that is a comment on the way Victorian Society stiffled growth in women or if Forrester just didn't like 'em all that much.
Immature, yes; but I think there was always an undercurrent in her character that promised greater potential growth in the future, perhaps seen most clearly in her attitude whenever she played Beethoven.

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Old 02-24-2011, 08:42 AM   #13
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Immature, yes; but I think there was always an undercurrent in her character that promised greater potential growth in the future [snip]
I agree. What is currently driving me a little crazy is her wishy-washy-ness, and fierce determination to do the "wrong thing", instead of listening to her instincts. This why I'm happy to hear that she changes.
My least favorite character, so far, is Charlotte. What a miserable woman. She comes across as the queen of passive-aggressive behaviour.
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Old 02-24-2011, 08:46 AM   #14
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My most favorite character is Mr. Emerson. His son seems bland by comparison.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:28 AM   #15
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SPOILER ALERT - yes, I agree about Cecil but he actually comes off better when Lucy dumps him. She seems petulant and immature and he responds with dignity and grace.

I actually find Lucy pretty immature through a lot of the story. She strikes me as being only about 16 or 17. Honestly the women in this story as a whole seem kind of immature. I wonder if that is a comment on the way Victorian Society stiffled growth in women or if Forrester just didn't like 'em all that much.
Just a comment: Forster - and the age of the society the story takes place in - isn't victorian, but edwardian. We're right before WW1 and the social climate had changed somewhat by then since the victorian time.

I think Lucy can't be more than 20 at most, but still she is rather immature in general. I don't think it's so much that Forster didn't like women - which he did, there's no reason to believe otherwise - but his father died shortly after he was born, and a great part of his early life was dominated by the women in his home and family and he had a very close relationship with his mother. My interpretation is that he is simply using what has observed and know. The society he describes, from Mr. Emerson Senior to Cecil Vyse, reflects his own background after all.

Last edited by Ea; 02-24-2011 at 12:03 PM. Reason: I was imprecise
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