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Maurice: A Novel (1971)

by E. M. Forster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,150712,861 (3.94)143
Written during 1913 and 1914, Maurice deals with the then unmentionable subject of homosexuality. More unusual, it concerns a relationship that ends happily.
  1. 50
    The Charioteer by Mary Renault (emanate28)
    emanate28: Understated, loving, and in a way heartbreaking depiction of love between two men in repressive British society.
  2. 30
    The Obelisk by E. M. Forster (DitisSuzanne)
  3. 30
    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)
  4. 31
    A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: The man is brilliant! One should read all of his books!
  5. 10
    The Lost Language of Cranes: A Novel by David Leavitt (Booksloth)
  6. 21
    Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin (jonathankws)
  7. 10
    A Month in the Country by J. L. Carr (1502Isabella)
  8. 10
    The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (susanbooks)
    susanbooks: Maurice mentions Oscar Wilde a couple of times & you can imagine the characters in the novel and the play socializing in some drawing room together
  9. 00
    Simple Man: The Autobiography of Peter West by Ruadhán J. McElroy (youngsoulrebel)
  10. 00
    Tell it to the Bees by Fiona Shaw (MinaKelly)
  11. 11
    Confessions of a Mask by Yukio Mishima (GYKM)
    GYKM: Another LGBT Bildungsroman
  12. 11
    Alec by William Di Canzio (susanbooks)
  13. 01
    Stalky & Co. by Rudyard Kipling (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: Maurice is kind of a Stalky grown-up to be gay.
  14. 01
    Basil by Wilkie Collins (susanbooks)
  15. 01
    Outline of My Lover by Douglas A. Martin (susanbooks)

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» See also 143 mentions

English (64)  Italian (2)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (1)  French (1)  All languages (69)
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
I found this book horrifying and illuminating. It follows the life of a young privileged man in the early years of the 20th century as he progresses through school, Cambridge and young adulthood. He comes to realise he is homosexual, and it is the depiction of his feelings and conduct which is so very unsettling. I was aware of course that homosexuality was illegal and in every way frowned upon at that time. What I didn't realise though was that as well as needing to keep their sexuality under wraps, homosexuals battled very real feelings of shame, often seeing themselves as 'beastly'. Their sexual orientation might colour the entire way they lived their lives and formed relationships with family, friends and colleagues. Maurice, the subject of this book is to a large extent a prisoner of his sexuality and class, and a not altogether likeable character, though it's easy to sympathise with him. Only the ending failed to convince. An unsettling but worthwhile read. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
It took a little to get into, but I'm glad I stuck with it. It wasn't what I expected in a good way. ( )
  ElektraBurgos | Oct 23, 2023 |
I adored this book. It's romantic and passionate and beautifully written. Forster's prose is exquisite - filled with style and wit. There's also enormous wisdom to be found and he's clearly one of those authors who is a brilliant observer. Every scene rings with emotional truth: characters make speeches but they also get distracted halfway through them; they do or say exactly the opposite of what they intend to; harm is done by timing and tone as much as by action or speech.

And the subject matter! The book is brave and fierce and hopeful at a time when that must have been almost impossible. I can't recommend this book highly enough and I'm already looking forward to rereading it. ( )
  robfwalter | Jul 31, 2023 |
A subtle story of self discovery, class, emotional turmoil, friendship over a lifetime. Several characters are gay, and this is significant; the achievement of the novel is not, however, dependent upon this.

Forster's prose again astounds in its limpid presentation of abstractions: private thoughts, emotions, social currents, interpersonal dynamics. While I did not find any instance of those supernatural events I found so curiously compelling in Celestial Omnibus, there were suggestive parallels. Chief example came at the close of Part One, with Maurice fleeing Clive's utterance ("Hall, don't be grotesque."). What reads on the page as a dream of Maurice's, or perhaps a waking vision -- it is not immediately clear what occurs bodily and what only as sensation -- easily could substitute for the supernatural occurrences in the short stories, the inner voice of Maurice's heart standing in for the titular Curate's Friend. "It [his heart] cried: 'You love and are loved.' He looked round the court. It cried, 'You are strong, he weak and alone,' won over his will." [66] I did not remark this parallel upon my initial reading of the passage, and wonder now whether several other "disguised" appearances escaped notice.

Another point of interest was the question of whether the "disagreeable narrator" -- central to the Celestial short stories -- would make an appearance here, as well. Forster sidesteps this with his choice of third-person omniscient, and only later did it occur to me that any such appearance, were it to appear, necessarily would do so in another voice: a disagreeable character but not narrator, with that character's voice directed not to the reader but to other characters. With that idea in mind, the personality coming closest would be Dr Barry, especially their conversation in Maurice's consultation [K31]. Again, a second reading with this parallel in mind would be worthwhile.


Forster in what is styled a TERMINAL NOTE admits that he created Maurice essentially as the opposite of himself. Alongside my interpretation of Clive and Maurice as essentially contrasting ideal types of gay men in British society, this suggests that Clive could be autobiographical. Particularly interesting insofar as Clive is not presented altogether sympathetically or even apologetically. ( )
  elenchus | Jul 3, 2023 |
Forster completed writing Maurice in 1914 and the manuscript remained unpublished until 1970 because of its content.

Maurice Hall is a young man growing up confident in his privileged status and aware of his place in society. He also finds himself increasingly attracted to his own sex, including men from his own social status and those beneath him.

I found it interesting that views and opinions have not changed in some countries. Maurice is a beautiful story set in an era now gone; values and culture that is slowly changing.

The story is beautifully presented, the characters are strong and believable and overall Maurice is an honest representation of what life was like for homosexuals in England at the time. ( )
  Steven1958 | Jan 22, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 64 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (28 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E. M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Furbank, P. N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leavitt, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Written during 1913 and 1914, Maurice deals with the then unmentionable subject of homosexuality. More unusual, it concerns a relationship that ends happily.

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