This is the cover of the first edition of E M Forster’s novel A Room with a View. It was Forster’s third novel after Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905) and The Longest Journey (1907), although he began writing it at least five years before it was first published. The novel is divided into two parts, set in Italy and Britain. It narrates the adventures of the protagonist, Lucy Honeychurch, first as a tourist in Florence and then in Windy Corner, her family home in England.
A Room with a View and the English tourist
A Room with a View is a romance that makes use of the convention of the marriage plot, but it is also a comedy parodying British tourism in Italy. Forster had spent one year travelling in Italy between 1901 and 1902, and the people and situations he observed during his visit greatly influenced the novel. Lucy’s visit to Northern Italy references the 18th-century Grand Tour, the trip across southern Europe, which was seen as a necessary way for young gentlemen to complete their education. In Forster’s novel, Lucy and her cousin travel to Florence to see the ‘real Italy’ but stay in a pension decorated in English style and managed by a ‘Signora’ with a cockney accent. “It might be London”, claims a disappointed Lucy on arrival.