Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date






Publication Title

A Room With a View


In her illuminating introduction, Forster biographer Wendy Moffat delves into the little-known details of his life before and during the writing of A Room with a View, and explores the way the enigmatic author’s queer eye found comedy in the clash between English manners and the unsettling modern world, encouraging his reader to recognize and overcome their prejudice through humor.

Introduction's first paragraph:

E.M. Forster conceived of A Room with a View in 1901, when he was twenty-two. Months after graduation from Cambridge, marooned with his mother in a dreary Neapolitan pensione that catered to middle-class British tourists, without a job or even the prospect of a career, the young Forster felt alienated and adrift. He sketched out a list of characters--"Lucy. . . her cousin Miss Bartlett . . . Miss Lavish"--followed by the urgent question "Doing what?" It would take seven years of stops and starts to answer that question. But in wrestling A Room with a View into print, Forster came to understand his characters and himself. His lifelong subject would be the tragicomic limitations of the English character and moral consequences of an "undeveloped heart." Writing this novel showed him who he was and where he belonged in the world, and as he found himself, he found his voice as one of the great writers of the twentieth century.


For more information on the published version, visit Penguin Random House's Website.

Wendy Moffat also provides "Suggestions for Further Reading" on pages xxi-xxiii.

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