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Maurice: A Novel by E. M. Forster
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Maurice: A Novel (edition 1987)

by E. M. Forster

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2,627392,275 (3.97)94
Member:MsCellophane
Title:Maurice: A Novel
Authors:E. M. Forster (Author)
Info:W. W. Norton & Company (1987), Mass Market Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library, Illinois library
Rating:
Tags:fiction

Work details

Maurice by E. M. Forster

  1. 20
    A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: The man is brilliant! One should read all of his books!
  2. 10
    A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr (1502Isabella)
  3. 10
    The Obelisk by E. M. Forster (DitisSuzanne)
  4. 10
    Why We Never Danced the Charleston by Harlan Greene (lucybrown)
    lucybrown: Both books examine young men coming to terms with their homosexuality in a time period when it was entirely unaccepted, even illegal. Forster's book is set in the late Victorian England (1914)and Greene's 1920s Charleston, SC. Both are well written though stylistically different.… (more)
  5. 00
    The Lost Language of Cranes by David Leavitt (Booksloth)
  6. 00
    The Charioteer by Mary Renault (emanate28)
    emanate28: Understated, loving, and in a way heartbreaking depiction of love between two men in repressive British society.
  7. 00
    Tell it to the Bees by Fiona Shaw (MinaKelly)
  8. 11
    Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin (jonathankws)
  9. 00
    Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Maurice is kind of a Stalky grown-up to be gay.
  10. 00
    Simple Man: The Autobiography of Peter West by Ruadhán J. McElroy (youngsoulrebel)
  11. 01
    Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima (GYKM)
    GYKM: Another LGBT Bildungsroman
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» See also 94 mentions

English (35)  French (2)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (39)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Midway through reading, I glanced at the copyright page to find out when this novel was first published and nearly fell over - 1970! But no, E M Forster actually finished writing Maurice in 1914, which fits much better with the characters and social setting, and was waiting for the outcome of the Wolfenden report (1967) before releasing his manuscript for publication. In the end, the novel was published posthumously.

This is a very bizarre choice for me, but I actually enjoyed the story and the characters, especially the befuddled and frustrated Maurice. I'm always surprised when a nineteenth/early twentieth century novel is still readable and relatable! Basically, Maurice discovers that he is 'an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort', as he puts it, and falls in love for the first time with Clive Durham at university. For a few years they share an 'understanding', then after illness and a trip to Greece, Clive decides he is 'normal' and wants to get married. Maurice is devastated and sets about 'curing' himself too, including a session or two of hypnotherapy, but of course that doesn't work. He eventually finds love again at Clive's country estate and disappears into the 'greenwood' with his new lover.

I love Forster's droll and insightful narration, which holds true long after attitudes to homosexuality have changed. Maurice, for instance, is described as 'constitutionally lazy', belatedly discovering that 'people turned out to be alive', not cardboard cutouts like himself, and only admits his true feelings after 'the man who returned his love had been lost'. There are a couple of 'love scenes', tacked on after the fact, but more romantic than erotic. And I am glad that 'a happy ending was imperative'! ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Feb 6, 2016 |
Pretty tame by today's standards, this was one of the first books to deal with a homosexual relationship. Forster seems to have romanticized things a bit too much by our modern-day standards and so the book gets relegated to the realm of the "dated." Still worth a read for the insight it gives us into his time. And also, insight into a male relationship jeapardized by class...And, as part of our history. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Witten in around 1913/14 and dedicated ‘to a happier year’ – Maurice wasn’t published until – 1971 a year after Forster’s death.

*Apologies – there will be spoilers in this review – I have found it impossible to write about this book without them.*

“A happy ending was imperative. I shouldn’t have bothered to write otherwise. I was determined that in fiction anyway two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows, and in this sense, Maurice and Alec still roam the greenwood.”
(E M Forster 1960)

Forster had intended to write a novel that was frankly homosexual – a book which in the world of 1914 would have made Forster liable to prosecution. Resisting publication the book was put away – and by the time Maurice appeared the law had changed, attitudes were changing too.

Maurice Hall is a young man born into a conventional place in society – he is confidently aware of his place in that society. At fourteen, preparing to leave his prep school Maurice first talks about sex with a school master – who takes it upon himself to have such talks with the boys as they leave his care. At home Maurice lives with his mother and two sisters, his father having died, Maurice is rather a young snob, frequently irritated by the conventional world of his home, there are moments when he wants to rock that comfortable world of smug conformity.

As a young man Maurice finds himself very much at odds with the world – he never really feels that the traditional marriage is something he can see for himself. Maurice feels himself becoming more and more attracted to members of his own sex – he assumes that no other young man has ever felt as he does.

At Cambridge Maurice meets Clive Durham, it is here, growing closer to Clive that Maurice finally experiences a profound emotional and sexual awakening. Finally Maurice learns that he is not alone in the world – that there are other men like him. In Clive’s company – though their relationship remains chaste – Maurice is briefly ecstatically happy. However, following a bout of illness and a trip to Greece Clive suddenly announces he has become ‘normal’ and fully intends to marry. Clive revels in his apparent ‘normalness’ relieved to be taking his place within the society he sees around him. Maurice is left reeling, convinced by Clive that his own feelings really are unnatural – he considers going in search of a cure. With this in mind Maurice consults Lasker Jones a hypnotist in London – but it is soon apparent that there is no cure for Maurice.

“He would not deceive himself so much. He would not – and this was the test – pretend to care about women when the only sex that attracted him was his own. He loved men and always had loved them. He longed to embrace them and mingle his being with theirs. Now that the man who returned his love had been lost, he admitted this.”

On his country estate Clive is conventionally – though we suspect, not entirely satisfactorily – married to Anne, Maurice meanwhile is settled into the life of a stockbroker. Invited to stay by the man he must now only think of only as his old college friend – Maurice meets Alec – Clive’s gamekeeper. Recognising Maurice’s attraction to him, Alec climbs through a window into Clive’s room. Alec is due to emigrate to Argentina – and Maurice is appalled at the risk he has taken in sleeping with a man outside of his own class – he fears blackmail – and hurriedly returns to London to consult Lasker Jones one last time. Forster emphasises the class difference by having Alec call Maurice sir on several occasions, Alec is referred to by his surname Scudder. Alec writes to Maurice – letters Maurice tries to ignore. For a moment it even seems that Maurice’s fears of blackmail and scandal could come true, but Alec is really not that kind of man.

“Did you ever dream you had a friend, Alec? Someone to last your whole life and you his. I suppose such a thing can’t really happen outside sleep.”

However – Forster wanted his characters to have that happy ending – so naturally, Maurice and Alec do find one another again, and a happiness which would have been unpalatable to readers in 1914. Clive – those old feelings now apparently put firmly away – is horrified when Maurice tells him quite frankly of the nature of his relationship with Alec. One can’t help but wonder what the future will be for Clive and Anne – the future for Maurice and Alec being the one we feel more confidence in.

“I was yours once ’till death if you’d cared to keep me, but I’m someone else’s now – I can’t hang about whining forever – and he’s mine in a way that shocks you, but why don’t you stop being shocked, and attend to your own happiness?”

Maurice is a deeply personal work; brave, honest it’s beautifully written, and very compelling. Condemning the attitudes prevalent in Britain at the time the book was written, Maurice is a poignant love story, and has become an important early work of modern gay literature. ( )
  Heaven-Ali | Jan 17, 2016 |
As I read this, I wondered how it could have been accepted in the 1910's. Well, it wasn't. Written in 1914, it was not published until 1970, after Foster's death. An excellent look at what it must have been like to be homosexual in he early years of the 20th century in London. Maurice started out as a fairly insufferable character but he grew on me and I was glad to see a happy ending for him. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 22, 2014 |
Left unpublished until after Forster's death, this novel is distinguished by having a happy ending. Maurice is not an artistic sensitive soul> Forster claimed to have made his protagonist so far as possible, his opposite in character, having in common only their homosexuality. The work was written in 1913 and is, of course, extremely dated.
  ritaer | Aug 21, 2014 |
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Dedicated to a Happier Year
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Once a term the whole school went for a walk - that is to say the three masters took part as well as all the boys.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0393310329, Paperback)

"The work of an exceptional artist working close to the peak of his powers." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

Set in the elegant Edwardian world of Cambridge undergraduate life, this story by a master novelist introduces us to Maurice Hall when he is fourteen. We follow him through public school and Cambridge, and on into his father's firm, Hill and Hall, Stock Brokers. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way, "stepping into the niche that England had prepared for him": except that his is homosexual. Written during 1913 and 1914, immediately after Howards End, and not published until 1971, Maurice was ahead of its time in its theme and in its affirmation that love between men can be happy. "Happiness," Forster wrote, "is its keynote. In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely unlike myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, mentally torpid, not a bad businessman and rather a snob. Into this mixture I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him, wakes him up, torments him and finally saves him."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:08 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

"The work of an exceptional artist working close to the peak of his powers."-Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, New York Times Set in the elegant Edwardian world of Cambridge undergraduate life, this story by a master novelist introduces us to Maurice Hall when he is fourteen. We follow him through public school and Cambridge, and on into his father's firm, Hill and Hall, Stock Brokers. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way, "stepping into the niche that England had prepared for him": except that his is homosexual. Written during 1913 and 1914, immediately after Howards End, and not published until 1971, Maurice was ahead of its time in its theme and in its affirmation that love between men can be happy. "Happiness," Forster wrote, "is its keynote...In Maurice I tried to create a character who was completely unlike myself or what I supposed myself to be: someone handsome, healthy, bodily attractive, mentally torpid, not a bad businessman and rather a snob. Into this mixture I dropped an ingredient that puzzles him, wakes him up, torments him and finally saves him." Written during 1913 and 1914, Maurice deals with the then unmentionable subject of homosexuality. More unusual, it concerns a relationship that ends happily.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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