Three Comedy of Manners novels from the early Twentieth Century

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EM Forster’s, A Room with a View provides a glimpse into Edwardian times.  Jump forward to 1922, and Elizabeth Von Arnim’s, Enchanted April places four women in a shared accommodation in the Italian Riviera for a month.  W Somerset Maugham’s, Cakes and Ale, was published in 1930, and subtitled A Skeleton in the Cupboard. In later life, Maugham named this as his favourite of his novels. Do they confirm our ideas of society at their time?

We will take the novels in order of publication, looking at a manageable section in each session, as we consider the characters, events, and tone of telling.

Do these novels still earn the accolade of ‘a good read’? How did you find them? What works, or doesn’t work? What is their relevance today?

Please read Part 1 of A Room with a View for discussion at the first session.



Course Details

This course finished on 20 December 2023