This essay analyzes the reworking and inversion of the Puritan hermeneutical practice of Biblical typology in E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View in order to show how the novel is fundamentally concerned with religion, a topic often overlooked regarding this text. First, using Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe as an example, I describe the practice of typology as a method of reading that the early modern Puritans applied to the Bible, to the natural world, to history and to the moral evaluation of the self, and that then informed the development of the modern novel in England with implications for the reading of plot, characterization, morality and aesthetics. I then show how Forster’s novel, through the conversion plot of Lucy Honeychurch, playfully inverts the moral and metaphysical principles that undergird these typological elements to promote a new “aesthetic spirituality” and a new morality of egalitarianism and the body.


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pp. 72-94
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