Maurice

by E. M. Forster

Ebook, 2015

Status

Available

Call number

823.912

Publication

RosettaBooks (2019), 252 pages

Description

Written during 1913 and 1914, Maurice deals with the then unmentionable subject of homosexuality. More unusual, it concerns a relationship that ends happily.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Medellia
Spoilers follow. When I write a review, I often avoid discussing plot points, but in this novel, as in much of Forster’s work, the interest lies far more in the telling than the plot. In fact, it is interesting to see how much warmth and life Forster can impart to such a simple story. (Boiled
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down to the bare essentials: Maurice Hall gradually becomes aware of his homosexuality and enters into a chaste but loving relationship with Clive Durham; Clive reverts to (or purports to revert to) heterosexuality and marries; Maurice visits Clive at his estate, Penge, and sleeps with his gamekeeper, Alec Scudder, and after some more conflict between Maurice and Alec, the book ends happily.)

Much of the warmth comes from the typical Forsterian personality of the book, the tone often ironic but not cruel, critical but loving, and filled with poignant, lofty rhetoric. As another reviewer stated, Forster “captures the thrill of discovering your sexuality and capacity for loving another human being,” of coming to truly understand someone. “Love was harmonious, immense,” as Clive falls in love with Maurice; “He poured into it the dignity* as well as the richness of his being, and indeed in that well-tempered soul* the two were one.” When Maurice and Alec both panic and argue and threaten each other, it ends with Alec offering Maurice his hand. “Maurice took it, and they knew at that moment the greatest triumph ordinary man can win . . . He rejoiced because he had understood Alec’s infamy through his own—glimpsing, not for the first time, the genius who hides in man’s tormented soul.”

Forster also gives life to the story through careful and liberal use of symbolism and imagery. In Forster, objects and descriptions are never wasted, never exist in a vacuum, but always contribute to the power and emotion of the story. In the opening scene, young Maurice’s schoolmaster, Mr. Ducie, cringingly informs him about "the mystery of sex” (which Mr. Ducie finds to be “rather a bother”) as they stroll along a grey sea reflecting the colorless sky. He scratches diagrams in the sand, which bear no resemblance to any feelings or thoughts inside Maurice (who is not yet aware of his homosexuality, but cannot quite understand this uniting of male and female). Mr. Ducie waxes poetically and priggishly about Man and Woman and God, but it is silly and passionless rhetoric, and when Maurice says he shall never marry, Mr. Ducie invites Maurice and his future wife to dine with him “ten years hence.” Then they walk off and the tide erases the drawings behind them, and "darkness rolled up again, the darkness that is primeval but not eternal, and yields to its own painful dawn.”

This event is not wasted; Maurice alludes to it after he first sleeps with Alec, and Mr. Ducie’s reappearance (probably some ten years hence!) during the chief conflict between Alec and Clive gives force, irony, and clarity to the situation. The colorless sea, the drawings in the sand, erased by the tide, are the sort of descriptive symbols that take a simple, straightforward scene and impart an unforgettable mythic, resonant quality. The windows at Cambridge and Penge, the primroses and the boathouse at Penge, Alec’s gun, the imagined “crack in the floor” at the hypnotist’s, these are the lifeblood of the work.

Mirrors and echoes of characters and situations through the book provide further resonance and a pleasing sense of unity. Mr. Ducie’s appearances are one example. The interplay of the Clive/Maurice and Alec/Maurice relationships provide the most parallels: Clive and Alec being, respectively, upper and lower class; richer and poorer; chaste and physical; blue-eyed and associated with the Blue Room at Penge, brown-eyed and associated with the Russet Room. Clive is first presented as homosexual, then heterosexual; when Alec first appears, he is flirting with two young women, but he then sleeps with Maurice. At the beginning, Clive and Maurice argue before Maurice climbs into Clive’s window; they reconcile, and later part with a bang. In one of their first encounters, Alec and Maurice have a little tiff, then reconcile; afterwards, Alec climbs into Maurice’s window and they sleep together. This encounter is so forceful as to cause a sort of echo effect, as a major eruption and reconciliation follows, then another separation and reconciliation.

Between the mirrors and echoes of Clive and Alec lies a void in which Maurice falls into despair over the end of his relationship with Clive. I find this to be the weakest section of the book, as the energy slackens and the structure becomes a bit fuzzy. But there were still plenty of moments that kept my interest and attention, such as the oddly touching scene in which Maurice’s grandfather dies, which leads to character growth in Maurice, the cessation of suicidal thoughts in favor of a struggle for life. “Yet he was doing a fine thing—proving on how little the soul* can exist . . . He hadn’t a God, he hadn’t a lover—the two usual incentives to virtue. But on he struggled with his back to ease, because dignity* demanded it. There was no one to watch him, nor did he watch himself, but struggles like his are the supreme achievements of humanity, and surpass any legends about Heaven.”

In two of the quotes above, I starred the words “dignity” and “soul.” Widely separated in the book, the recurrence of these words is another example of Forsterian unity, the repetition of words, themes, phrases in a new context. There are many more examples of this sort of thing in the book, and this is one reason why I find rereading Forster to be rewarding—there’s always more to connect. (Much of what I have written above was heavily influenced by my understanding of the final chapter of Forster’s Aspects of the Novel, in which he discusses his notions of “pattern and rhythm”—I highly recommend that you read at least that chapter.)

For a book in which our eyes are averted from physical encounters, no detail provided, the prose crackles with sexual energy. When Maurice first meets Clive (in Risley’s room, as Maurice is unconsciously drawn to the homosexual Risley), the sentences are peppered with innocuous uses of words and phrases like “come,” “want,” “kneeling,” “flushed,” “under me,” “firm,” “roughly,” and so forth. And I hardly think it is a coincidence that in this meeting, Clive has come to Risley’s room to borrow some piano rolls to “play on Featherstonhaugh’s pianola,” or that Clive rebukes Maurice when he reaches for the roll on the pianola, saying that Maurice would be too rough with it.

As you can probably guess from the above, I developed an immediate and visceral love for this novel. I felt, pleaded, hoped for the characters. I can admit that it’s not Forster’s finest work, and that there are potential flaws—the characters not as finely drawn and fleshed out as they could be, occasional lapses into sentimentality, the ending perhaps improbably happy—but the last is a choice of idealism over realism that I’m ready to defend. The sense of liberation that it provides is an antidote to all that homosexuals in Edwardian England had to suffer, and that many people must still suffer in many parts of the world today. Go Forster.
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LibraryThing member ChicGeekGirl21
Nobody does hot, erotic passion simmering beneath a laced up, prim Edwardian exterior quite like E.M. Forster and Maurice is by far his most subversive novel. Published posthumously, Maurice is a gay version of Lady Chatterley's Lover in which the hero, Maurice, discovers his homosexuality with a
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school chum who loves him but refuses to *ahem* fuck him...and then ends up running away with an earthy, passionate gameskeeper who has no problem with fucking. Captures the thrill of discovering your sexuality and capacity for loving another human being (and to hell with what society thinks!) perfectly. If only Forster were alive today to see how far the gay community has come since his time.
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LibraryThing member amanda4242
There are some books that overwhelm the reader with excitement and plot twists and all sorts of other things, but have absolutely no substance to them and leave the reader with only the memory of having read the book. Then there are books that are seemingly insubstantial, yet are so profound that
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the reader will carry them with them for the rest of their life. Such a work is E. M. Forester’s Maurice.

The story is quite simple: it concerns the two times Maurice Hall fell in love. It is by no means a perfect novel. The characters can be a bit flat and the plot occasionally becomes a bit too idealistic, but the power of Maurice doesn‘t come from its plot: it comes from the profound humanity with which Forster writes. It is a book not for the mind, but for the heart.
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LibraryThing member raschneid
First off, Maurice has the peculiar honor of having been read by me serially from three separate books - two in different libraries and one in the Yale Bookstore. This happened not out of reluctance to finish it, but because I spent a lot of time hanging around New Haven recently without a library
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card. Finally I got it out from the library and finished it today.

It's a totally charming book! I am a sucker for early 20th century Britain with its mixture of Victorian ideals and modern ideas, its cricket and country estates and class snobbery and public school slang. Maurice in particular was written on the cusp of WWI and represents the end of an era. I enjoyed Forster's poetic yet didactic style, which sometimes produces effects invisibly and sometimes sits down and tells you how it is in classic storyteller fashion.

The human interactions were real, romantic, and moving. Maurice could have become a mere argument piece or allegory, and certainly it had a strong message about English society and the English class system, but its characters felt, for the most part, alive on the page.

Maurice is about what it means to be, in Forster's words, "embedded in society" and defined by its expectations and strictures. His Romantic vision of freedom from social bonds is more cheerful than other novels on the subject - The Mill on the Floss and The Age of Innocence, for instance, have rather less optimistic forecasts - but I think Maurice's bravery in prescribing a happy ending is really something.

Because, yes, Maurice is a novel about a gay man, written in 1914. Not only that, it actually manages to be a good novel and not merely a self-aware protest piece, and the main characters don't die or end up in an asylum or in loveless marriages or alone for eternity. They live happily ever after. (Spoiler, yes, but this is basically how the book advertises itself on every jacket copy I've seen. This is why it's really worth reading.)

Forster knew no one would publish it. As he explains in the postscript, written forty-six years later, "it will probably have to remain in manuscript. If it ended unhappily, with a lad dangling from a noose or with a suicide pact, all would be well, for there is no pornography or seduction of minors. But the lovers get away unpunished and consequently recommend crime."

The extreme irony that nearly a century later we think Brokeback Mountain (a great movie, don't get me wrong) shows how progressive popular storytelling has become, when it's the same gay tragedy that's been retold for the last ninety years.

There actually is a film of Maurice from the eighties. Starring Hugh Grant as Clive! That might have to go on the top of my soon-to-be-purchased Netflix queue....
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LibraryThing member lycomayflower
This is the third or fourth time I've read Maurice, and I never get tired of rereading it. I marvel at the way Forster writes a character who isn't particularly likable but for whom the reader still has a great deal of sympathy. I desperately want Maurice to be okay despite shuddering at the
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thought of having to sit down to a meal with him. Forster has a great knack for putting things, especially things going on in a character's thoughts, just so. Over and over I think to myself, "Oh, come now, that's just too, too navel-gazey" and then on second thought realizing that, no, that's just the way of it! And how clever of him to have figured out how to say so. The end is a bit "isn't it pretty to think so," but bless him for doing it, for writing a happy ending for his character who feels "the love that dare not speak its name," even if the book couldn't be published for decades after it was first written.

***For Book Club.
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LibraryThing member fingerpost
An aristocratic British ass battles his own homosexuality. His first love is a classmate, who later turns "normal," causing Maruice no end of torment. In the end he finds happiness with a working class man.
Having loved "Howard's End" and "A Passage to India" I was quite disappointed with "Maurice."
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I think my dislike stems from two points: 1. Maurice is an extremely unlikable character. 2. I dislike it for the same reason I disliked "The Great Gatsby." That the characters are all so wealthy, aristocratic, and snobbish, that I was unable to relate to their world view at all.
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LibraryThing member lydia1879
"Publishable, but worth it?" Was the question E.M Forster wrote in his own margins of the manuscript of this novel.

My answer is yes. Yes, absolutely, yes.

This is a story of same-sex love in Edwardian times between a man called Maurice (said like Morris) his various relationships and finally the man
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he falls in love with.

I love Forster's tone in this - he's very witty, his writing is layers and layers of comments on class, and gender, and privilege and it's all very subtle. This book can be quite masculine, quite dark, a little bit bitter and bleak, but there's a warmth to it, and an honesty to it.

This book wasn't published until 1971 - after Forster's death. As a queer woman, it makes me wonder what other books were written throughout history and never published, because they had a theme of same-sex love.

This book is an absolute triumph - even its 1987 film adaption with a very young Rupert Graves, Hugh Grant and James Wilby is brilliant.

You should definitely give this book a try. You'll be surprised.
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LibraryThing member Eavans
I'm really torn as to how to rate this or what to think about that ending... I'll need to brood for a bit
LibraryThing member alarra_c
Published many years after his death due to the subject of the book, this is at once on par with his best known comedic observations of English behaviour in the early part of the twentieth century, and completely ahead of its time. The language of the book makes the occasionally stumble in the
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story excusable, there are some really lovely and well-put passages.
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LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Written between 1913 and 1914, Forster’s novel of a young man’s awakening homosexuality was not published until 1971, a year after the author’s death. The novel caused a sensation when it was released, not just because of the subject matter, but because Forster dared to write a “happy
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ending.”

Still, there is much distress for Maurice as he comes to terms with his “inclinations” and struggles to form a relationship that will be honest and true. But then, many a heterosexual young person also struggles to find true love and acceptance.

I loved the way that Forster developed this character, showing Maurice’s confusion and naivete as a young man at boarding school, his headlong reckless nature as he pursued his pleasure and found first love, his despair when he thought all was lost and felt compelled to “find a cure” for his condition, and his eventual awakening to the possibilities that a mature and loving relationship might offer him.

I was appalled by some of the attitudes expressed in the novel, but sadly recognize some of the same behavior in current society. While much has changed in regard to societal attitudes about homosexuality in the hundred years since the book was written, and even in the nearly 50 years since it was first published, there is still hatred and persecution aimed at the members of the GLBT community.
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LibraryThing member laytonwoman3rd
This is a novel about an English man discovering and embracing his homosexuality in a society where school boys routinely had "crushes" on one another, but frank and open same sex relationships were illegal. Forster wrote this novel in 1913; he never attempted to publish it during his lifetime,
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although he did give it to selected friends to read. It was published by his estate in 1971, shortly after his death. I'm afraid this book suffered from its reputation, for me. I expected more of it than I found in it. I acknowledge its importance, but reading it felt like a duty. I had issues with the style; there was a bit too much dated jargon (Forster recognized this himself in a note written in 1960) and I tripped over several sentences that just didn't convey any meaning to me. I couldn't raise much sympathy for Maurice, didn't like him or his lover, who I couldn't help viewing as just a bit of "rough trade". Critical comparisons to Lady Chatterley and her gameskeeper don't quite work. That relationship was much more fully developed than That of Maurice and Alec. Although Forster is praised for giving us a story in which we're meant to understand that these two men will live happily ever after outside of the strictures of "class", I don't buy it. Just what will keep a gameskeeper and a stockbrocker interested in one another after the honeymoon is over, if neither of them can work, and they can't associate with their families or make friends, and the law would have them in the dock if their relationship were known? What are their common interests? What will their daily life be like? Maybe I'm too practical, or have read too much, but giving it all up for love rarely works, even in fiction. Forster stopped writing just where the tale was likely to get the most interesting---if he could have shown us how this relationship might prosper, now that would have been worth reading. I thought he might have sent Maurice off to the Argentine with Alec, rather than have Alec stay behind in England. Having no familiarity at all with the Argentine of the early 1900's, I would have been prepared to accept their happy future more readily in that case.
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LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Maurice is a tale of homosexual love in early 20th-century England, it follows Maurice Hall from his schooldays, through university and beyond. It was written in 1913–1914, and revised in 1932 and 1959–1960. Although it was shown to selected friends it was only published in 1971 after Forster's
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death. It was this enterprise that Forster's friend, Christopher Isherwood supervised, seeing the publication of Maurice to fruition.
In the novel after an introductory section Maurice goes up to Cambridge and soon makes friends with fellow student Clive Durham, who introduces him to the ancient Greek writings about homosexual love. For two years they have a committed if chaste romance, which they keep hidden from everyone they know. Maurice hopes for more from their platonic attachment, but it becomes clear that Clive intends to marry, even though Forster's prose leaves no doubts that his marriage will probably entail a mostly joyless union. It is later during a visit with the Durhams that he meets Alec Scudder, a young under-gamekeeper, and falls in love again. The story is a poignant and sensitive treatment of homosexual love complicated by class differences and Maurice's own difficulty in dealing with the reality of his sexual persona.
Forster resisted publication because of public and legal attitudes to homosexuality — a note found on the manuscript read: "Publishable, but worth it?". Forster was particularly keen that his novel should have a happy ending, but knew that this would make the book too controversial. Thus the story is limited in a way, but it still benefits from Forster's fine prose style and a sensitivity that could only come from the heart.
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LibraryThing member ofstoneandice
Imperfect, but lovely.
LibraryThing member ZenMoon
This book is achingly beautiful, I remember thinking when I read this. It's infused with such strong emotion, and as a result, Forster is able to convey love and relationship in a way that transcends gender and sexual orientation. I lived it with him. Wonderful.
LibraryThing member dczapka
E. M. Forster's novel Maurice was written immediately after Howards End, but was not published until a year after his death in 1970. Its frank treatment of homosexuality was cited as the reason for its suppression, but while it does offer a sympathetic view towards the plight of gays in early
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20th-Century England, the novel is sadly otherwise uneventful.

The novel revolves around the title character, the son of a well-off British family who attends university, eventually works as a stockbroker, and is otherwise the quintessential British gentleman -- except that he is gay. His tryst with Clive, who shares his love of classical Greek literature, sets him on the path, and when that love is eventually rebuffed, he tries to deal with his sexuality however he can while avoiding being ostracized by society.

The novel is surprisingly ahead of its time in its assertion that sexuality is both natural and not a curable medical condition. The scenes with Dr. Barry, who attempts to "heal" Maurice but fails, are revelatory, even if they do imply that the reason Maurice can't be healed is because he doesn't want to. But it is this mentality, that Maurice's goal in the novel is to come to terms with himself, regardless of what others think, makes the novel an impressive statement.

Outside of the incisive psychology of the main character, however, the novel is surprisingly staid. Though he is a character in constant conflict, Maurice is not especially likable, and Forster undercuts the majority of his cast (except perhaps for Clive) by making them flat and unchanging. Clive too is an unusual case because he is by turns compassionate and cold, changing at times like the flip of a switch, to the point where the reader finds it hard to sympathize with him. So too with Maurice, whose final ultimate defiance falls flat not because it is bold and brave, but because he is only rarely intriguing or inspiring.

While a radical novel for its time, and a work that wants to be compassionate towards the issues it addresses, Maurice simply lacks the depth of development and character to feel like a great accomplishment. Though it is undoubtedly a landmark work, it is nevertheless a work that falls far short of the texts that made Forster a landmark name in high Modernism.
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LibraryThing member grumpyvegan
Just finished reading Maurice by E. M. Forster. Originally written during 1913 and 1914, this inspiring and courageous novel was not published until 1971 after Forster's death. Why? Maurice was gay. As was Forster. Britain did not decriminalize homosexual sex between men over twenty-one if
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conducted in complete privacy until 1967.

Forster was inspired to write Maurice during a visit to Edward Carpenter at Milthorpe, Sheffield, England, in 1913. He was touched by Edward's lover George Meredith on his "backside -- gently and just above the buttocks."

"The sensation was unusual and I still remember it, as I remember the position of a long vanished tooth. It was as much psychological as physical. It seemed to go straight through the small of my back into my sides, without involving my thoughts. It if really did this, it would have acted in strict accordance with Carpenter's yogified mysticism, and would prove that at that precise moment I had conceived."

Forster understates Edward Carpenter as someone whose "prestige ... cannot be understood today." Among many aspects to Edward's complex personality was an ethical socialist vegetarianism.

The Grumpy Vegan highly recommends the film Maurice produced by Merhcant Ivory Productions as a faithful and sympathetic dramatization. Of course, read the book! Learn more about Edward Carpenter, a colleague of Henry Salt.
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LibraryThing member aliciaaa1
Maurice is an excellent book; it gives a glimpse into what life must have been like for homosexuals back in Edwardian England. It allows to reader to feel the empathy with the characters and truly gives the reader the opportunity to ingest some of the deep oppression felt by social conventions.
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Forester also goes deeply into his characters, giving us andecdotes for each one, allowing for more dyanamics between them. Interesting and complex characters as well. Overall, an amazing book that is truly provocative and captivating.
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LibraryThing member li33ieg
Probably the most revealing out of all of this author's books, Maurice was one of the first novels ever published that focuses its attention on homosexuality as a fact of life. It's particularly interesting (I think) to recall that it was published posthumously. Forster doesn't appear to have had
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an ax he wanted to grind; he wanted to celebrate the quality of love that can exist between two men as partners and to invite others to understand that the complications in same sex relationships might be the same as the complications in opposite sex relationships - i.e. concerns about image and how others will react to one's choice of partner.
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LibraryThing member MrJgyFly
Like other Forster works (A Room With a View and Howards End, in particular) Maurice is a piece that would have pushed many societal envelopes at the time of writing; however, when read with only modern sensibility, it falters as unimpressive. This is only the case if the book is not read with the
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historical context in mind, and if you're reading it outside of this context, you might as well not bother to pick it up. Fortunately, the reader is constantly reminded of the historical problems faced by the central character.

Similar to other Forster novels, the subject matter is treated with tender care and not forced upon the reader simply to advance a "taboo." If the book had been published when it had been completed in 1914 instead of in 1971 (published posthumously), it would have outraged simply because of the thought of homosexuality, not because Forster forces homosexuality upon his reader. Forster seems to present his subjects in this manner to fool the typical English thinker into rooting for the characters, until a tragic "flaw" (tragic to the majority of Englishmen) is revealed and the reader is forced to consider where his/her loyalties lie and why they lie where they do.

The protagonist Maurice Hall, knows from an early age that something is not quiet "normal" about him, though he is not sure what it is. Forster eases us into loving the awkward character (awkward because of his feelings, not due to physical appearance since he is a rather striking person). What is interesting about the novel is that it is not simply a study in homosexuality at a time when is was a criminal offense to act as a homosexual, but it is also a presentation of how societies react to people who are misaligned from the norm in a religious way, as well. Maurice battles with belief in an almighty God, and his first lover, Clive, is an outright atheist.

Forster weaves two characters who cannot believe in the normal tenets of society, not for lack of trying, but simply because they cannot wrap their heads around what is normally accepted socially. Forster hints that Maurice is born with inherent differences that ultimately make him more beautiful that those who simply accept the status quo. Forster is perhaps at his best when Maurice attempts to "cure" himself through medicine, tracking down doctors who have eradicated his sexual "illness" in past patients with a certain degree of accuracy.

As the book takes a turn toward cures, it became clear to me that this might be the first Forster novel I was going to read without a happy ending. After reading Howards End, I felt the happiness at the conclusion was a bit unrealistic and was only written so as not to disappoint the readers. While I thoroughly enjoyed Howards End, if Maurice was to have a happy ending, I figured it would end in the protagonist being cured and if that was the case, I probably would have burned my copy of the novel. Miraculously, Forster manages to squeeze out a beautiful ending to work. It is one marked with a twinge of melancholy, and remains wholly realistic. I won't do anything to spoil the plot, but I'd be highly surprised if you're not impressed by the way Forster ends this piece.

After reading the "Terminal Note" following the novel, one finds that Forster poured dedication into this novel fully expecting to publish the book before he died. However, by the year 1960, views on homosexuality had changed direction, but had not taken the exact course Forster had hoped for. The author notes, "I...had supposed that knowledge would bring understanding. We had not realized that what the public really loathes in homosexuality is not the thing itself but having to think about it."

Forster's effort to increase understanding and spur empathy for gay men was one that fell short of a wholly intolerant public. The staunch views on sexuality in general did nothing to help his cause, and it is a bit ironic since this is something tackled by one of the characters consummating his marriage: "[T]hough he valued the body the actual deed of sex seemed to him unimaginative and best veiled in night. Between men it is inexcusable, between man and a woman it may be practised [sic] since nature and society approve, but never discussed or vaunted." If this is the attitude toward heterosexual sex, no wonder homosexual sex was a crime in England until the Wolfenden Report of 1957.

To me, Maurice is Forster's masterpiece. While it may not have had an effect on the public of the time, the feelings of a sexually oppressed person being put down by a sexually repressed society certainly have strains of truth that are still very much relevant in modern society. The book is a beautiful piece of retrospective that one can only hope is never forgotten. I implore you to read this book and share it with others.
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LibraryThing member bennyb
A powerfully emotive book that brings to the surface the way homosexuality was repressed and made a taboo subject in early twentieth century Britain. Forster writes in a compelling and powerful way that brings sympathetic undertones to the character Maurice. This is the first Forster novel I have
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read and I was impressed. I will definately read more of his works.
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LibraryThing member corinneblackmer
An accessible narrative of gay love, highly influenced by ancient Greek models and culture, set in Oxford in the earlier part of the twentieth century. Not as accomplished as most of Foster's other novels, but more intimate and feeling.
LibraryThing member soylentgreen23
An ex-girlfriend loved Forster, but, thanks to her religious sentiments, had mixed feelings towards gays and was never comfortable in their company. I wonder how she would have felt if she had known more about Forster, or had come across 'Maurice', an openly gay romantic fiction that was not
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published in the author's lifetime. The story itself is well-written, though the language now seems to have aged awfully; I cannot remember having seen the word 'rot' used quite so often in speech. Looked at in a different way though, as a text that shows society's attitudes to sex and 'Hellenism' in the years around Wilde's arrest, then this is thrilling stuff.
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LibraryThing member presto
Maurice follows this privileged young man from public school, through Cambridge and on into his mid twenties; and the two men with whom he becomes intimately involved. It also provides an interesting insight into the lives of the middles classes of the period and their attitudes, particularly
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towards those of lower class, and the prevailing attitude towards homosexuality.

Forster is not sparing in his depiction of Maurice, at times being quite blunt about his character and his shortcomings and weaknesses, but he also imbues Maurice with many good qualities and over time Maurice becomes stronger and much more personable. Of the other two main characters, Clive, his lover at Cambridge is an intellectual of great intelligence and with high standards, a leader, but he lets himself down eventually in his treatment of Maurice. Alec, the gamekeeper who later wins Maurice's heart is a most interesting character, the wayward, wild son of a tradesman who causes his family much concern, a rough at the edges, who enjoys the outdoor life; however, unfortunately we do not get to know him quite as well as the others.

Maurice is an absorbing and very atmospheric story, rich in period detail. Forster's lack of any sentimentality heightens our own involvement, allowing the reader to come to his own conclusions about the many and diverse individuals who people the story. A wonderful, moving and memorable novel.
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LibraryThing member LynnB
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.
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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.
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LibraryThing member stephenmurphy
Half a novel? A novella? A love-letter perhaps, and because not publuished in his lifetime, a secret text, perfumed with the longing of a whole age.

Language

Original publication date

1971

Other editions

Maurice by E. M. Forster (Hardcover)
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