Maurice

By E. M. Forster
W. W. Norton & Company, Paperback, 9780393310320, 256pp.

Publication Date: December 2005

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Description

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 into his father's firm. In a highly structured society, Maurice is a conventional young man in almost every way 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.




About the Author
Edward Morgan Forster's most homosexual works are the two published posthumously, his novel Maurice, written in 1913 but not published until 1971, and a collection of short stories titled The Life to Come. Forster's other works were published as he wrote them. None contained overtly homosexual themes, although what readers would now refer to as a "gay sensibility" is present in all. Forster was a prolific writer in his youth but ceased to write at age forty-five. Forster never married and was well-known among his friends to be homosexual. However, he remained celibate until the age of thirty-eight when he visited Egypt and had sex with a wounded soldier he met on the beach. He lived a closeted life, but eventually enjoyed a loving relationship with a married policeman named Bob Buckingham. The two met when Forster was fifty-one, Buckingham twenty-eight, and the relationship lasted forty years. Before meeting Buckingham, Forster had much briefer affairs with another policeman and a bus driver.
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