Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Travel Guide . . . of a Fictional Sort

We usually think non-fiction when we think travel guide--something w/ the name of the destination in the title, plus the year--but E.M. Forster's A Room With A View is a good travel guide as well as a novel. The novel doesn't say anything about literally packing light--it's first a light schedule so you won't end up like "the American girl in Punch who says: 'Say, Poppa, what did we see in Rome?' And the father replies: 'Why, guess Rome was the place where we saw the yaller dog'" (Forster 64). Then it's a light attitude, leaving behind those preconceived notions about where you're going and about travel in general to leave room for information about the real place you visit and the real people you see, and perhaps even find "that social barriers were irremovable, doubtless, but not particularly high" (119). If you use those travel guides for anything, it should only be for historical information as Lucy Honeychurch does when she "committed to memory the most important dates of Florentine history. For she was determined to enjoy herself on the morrow" (Forster 13). And who knows . . . you might find yourself travelling around the world, like the Miss Alans! :)


Forster, E.M. A Room With A View. New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993.

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