A Room with a View, first published in 1908 and considered by many to be Forster’s sunniest and most optimistic novel, begins in the Pension Bertolini, an inn in Florence, Italy. Two tourists, Miss Lucy Honeychurch and her cousin and chaperone, Miss Charlotte Bartlett, are dining with other Bertolini guests and complaining about the rooms they have been given. The inn’s owner, the Signora Bertolini (an Englishwoman from London’s east side despite her name) has put them in rooms overlooking the courtyard instead of giving the two women the rooms with a view to the Arno River which they had been promised.
Mr. Emerson, an old man seated dining at the same table, suggests that Lucy and Charlotte trade rooms with him and his son, George. But rather than accepting as Lucy wants her to do, Charlotte is offended by the old man’s familiar manner (she immediately concludes that he is ill-bred because he ventures to speak to her without observing…read more