This is the 1903 edition of the Baedeker guidebook to Northern Italy. The publishing firm Baedeker produced some of the most popular portable travel guides of the 19th and early 20th century. The guides contained itineraries, lists of buildings, monuments and museums, and recommendations for accommodation and travel. In many ways these books shaped the modern tourist experience, outlining the places worth visiting and providing summarised accounts of the history and traditions of different countries.
What is the role of the Baedeker in E M Forster’s A Room with a View?
In E M Forster’s A Room with a View the Baedeker is an indispensable possession for the British tourist, allowing him or her to wander around the city independently. At the beginning of the novel, the protagonist, Lucy Honeychurch, memorises Baedeker’s suggested itineraries before visiting Florence. Forster titled Chapter 2 of his novel ‘In Santa Croce with no Baedeker’. In it the unconventional Miss Lavish reprimands Lucy for depending on her guidebook, which she describes as superficial. The real Italy, according to Miss Lavish, could never be understood through a guidebook, but through personal observation. While the vagueness of the idea of ‘real Italy’ is mocked in the novel, it is when Lucy does not carry her guidebook that she gains an alternative explanation of the art in Florence, given by George and his father Mr Emerson.
- Article by:
- Stephanie Forward
- Literature 1900–1950
E M Forster started planning A Room with a View in 1902, but it was several years and several drafts before he finished it. Stephanie Forward describes some of the difficulties relating to plot and style that Forster experienced in writing his novel about overcoming conventions in the pursuit of authentic connection.
- Article by:
- Mercedes Cerón
- Antiquarianism, Town and city, Science and nature
George III never visited Italy. Instead he collected prints, drawings and guidebooks enabling him to travel virtually to antiquity's greatest architectural and artistic sites. Mercedes Cerón explores this rich collection of Grand Tour material to shed light on George III's particular brand of armchair tourism.