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

by E. M. Forster

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,690452,205 (3.97)99
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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English (41)  French (2)  Portuguese (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
This book is thrilling because it introduced two novel concepts at the same time. Homosexually is not wrong, supported by beautiful imagery and symbolism, and class distinctions are wrong, proven by love. Maurice may be dull and average, but that is who he is; the average Edwardian Englishman, upon whom homosexuality is thrust. The action of the novel ensues as he copes with his birth trait. This is a point in itself. Homosexuals are no one particular or special, they are average.

Clive's propensity to see the world in shades only of good and bad is paralleled in his fate in opposition to Maurice's happy ending. Clive is delivered in a few chapters as transformed, as turned away from men to women. While this transformation is possible, it is not as he would have it, he has chosen a path of great unhappiness, overwhelmed by society and thus he conforms to the idea that his platonic love for Maurice is wrong, thus it ends. Between the lines, Clive has forced the change. It was not natural for him, even though he thinks himself 'normal' thereafter. Much of these thoughts lie for the reader to interpret in Forster's subtle poetry.

Maurice's fate, much happier and very controversial in it's support of homosexuality and of inter-class love, is fantasy balanced by the average archetype that he is. This novel portrays him as a very basic upper-middle class man who can do or be anything the author wants, all is believable about him, and indeed, he is perfectly naive. It is through him that we understand a grander motif of the destruction love can do. Maurice is selfish and childish in love, but that is love. He is no great person or hero. He is the everyman. And the everyman in love, true love, is a slave to his passions, and once a sad and lonely man finds them, if he ever does, why should he let go? ( )
  knotbox | Jun 9, 2016 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this short novel about homosexual men set just before World War I. The characters are so well drawn -- torn by their sexuality which society, and even their inner beliefs, tells them in wrong -- but fully drawn men who have feelings of love, lust, power, ambition, obligation. They are not stereotypes or archetypes.

Maurice and Clive meet and fall in love at University. After that, life takes them along different paths. Clive disavows his homosexuality and marries. Maurice struggles over his lost love then seeks a "cure" through hypnotism. Through it all, the men sometimes succeed in life and in conforming; other times, they succeed in being true to themselves.

Many of the issues faced by the characters in Maurice continue to exist today. While homosexuality is much more accepted, gay people remain the victims of discrimination and, too often, violence. E.M. Forster's book is one that should be widely read as it shows that we are all the same in our struggles and dreams. ( )
  LynnB | Apr 22, 2016 |
I must say, I was quite impressed with Forster after finishing Maurice. The struggle with ones identity and sexuality is, almost 100 years ago and still is, hard. To come to terms with who you are, especially in an environment where everyone is working against you, or so it feels, and still trying to find what is right, what is true, in an array of opinions and answers - all of this is what the protagonist of this novel, Maurice, is going through. He's trying to come to terms with who he is, and along the way he falls in the love for the first time, and with that comes the heartache and the sorrow we all go through sometime in our lives. He goes back and forth between wanting to be free and himself, and repress this part of himself that at times disgust him. I think what I was most surprised by was how accessible this was, or rather - not in the writing because I did struggle to get used to Forster's writing at first, but how much I could relate to the emotions he went through, obviously not the same circumstances but the feelings and the thoughts and the confusion and all of this - the journey of the self.

I think Maurice, as is Clive and Scudder, are all flawed characters. For example Maurice and Clive - as Maurice himself also points out, are quite misogynistic at times. Or rather, they both start off as such - Clive "changes" when he "becomes normal", but ya know I'm not quite sure I would say he changes deep down. As for Maurice, it seems part of his love for men comes from his lack of love for women - which I find slightly odd. But yes, there are actions and dialogues that speak of a misogynistic perspective - so like I said, the characters are flawed. And it's really only this part of the novel I didn't like. But then it seems part of his struggle with his sexuality too and it's not easy to separate the dislike for women from it.

Either way. This is quite a beautifully written novel about a man trying to come to terms with who he is in a world that disapproves and rejects this part of him, and about falling in love. I liked it very much and I look forward to read more of Forster's work.
  zombiehero | Mar 25, 2016 |
I read this because it was about time I did, but also for a joint review. So much better than I expected, given the way critics describe it as one of Forster's "lesser" novels. Yes, it's very straightforward in its plot and storyline, and yes, it's a coming-of-age story about a rather ordinary suburban boy, but that's the point. The only thing that's supposed to be interesting about him is that he is attracted to men and not at all to women, but that turns out to be everything in this era and society.

I tried to watch the film at the same time as I was listening to the audiobook (which has a superb narration by Peter Firth), but I couldn't. It looked like Downton Abbey, and while it was in some ways quite faithful to the book, it was so much less rich and so much more obvious (and melodramatic). I can see how it made a big impact in 1987, though, especially but not only for LGBT people, and the acting is extremely good.

But back to the book. Maurice, who is a nice, middle-class, suburban boy, living with his widowed mother and two sisters, realizes early on that he's not that interested in girls and marriage. He goes up to Cambridge and falls in love with Clive, a gentry type who is smarter and better read, especially about the "unspeakable vice of the Greeks." Maurice acquires a classical and practical education, as well as some maturity and self-knowledge, and he and Clive fall in love (although they don't consummate it). When Clive eventually turns away from him and to the conventional heterosexual life of a married country squire, Maurice has to come to terms with his loss, his loneliness, and who he really is.

Forster wanted to write a gay romance with a happy ending, and he does that here, although the romance and HEA are less well grounded than most of the rest of the story. Lytton Strachey had a point: it's hard to believe, strictly from the text, that these two will last more than six months. But I'm going with it because by the end of the book you really, really want Maurice to have a future in which he loves and is loved in return. Forster writes a very convincing bildungsroman for him, and I was convinced by the end that Maurice's fidelity to his sexual orientation was the making of him.

The novel was criticized as dated when it was finally published in 1971, and of course it is in many ways, but it also surprised me because it escaped some of the stereotypes I had been expecting. Considering Forster had written over the top aesthetes elsewhere, I was surprised that the themes of masculinity were pervasive but subtle. Same-sex attraction wasn't offset with exaggerated aesthetic expressions or hyper-masculinity, even though questions of masculinity were explored. And Clive seemed more pitiable than anything else. He wasn't a coward, he was just not that committed to anything but a highly conventional life, and despite his intellectual gifts, he wasn't introspective. Alec was the least well developed, and he tended to function as a story device more than a person, but it's Forster doing the characterization, so short scenes still managed to convey some nuance.

Definitely a classic, and an underrated one, in my opinion. And if you like audiobooks, get the Firth. ( )
  Sunita_p | Mar 6, 2016 |
I've loved Forster for years and have been saving this particular book until I had a really difficult journey ahead of me. It didn't let me down--it's excellent. Forster says, "In Maurice I tried to create...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." ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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added by gsc55 | editSinfully Sexy, Mark (Jan 8, 2014)
 
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added by gsc55 | editBand of Thebes, Laurence Scott (Jul 7, 2013)
 
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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)

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