Read Maurice by E.M. Forster Free Online
Book Title: Maurice|
The author of the book: E.M. Forster
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 3.49 MB
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Reader ratings: 7.1
Edition: BBC WW
Date of issue: July 2nd 2010
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
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E.M. Forster (Howards End, A Room With A View) finished this gay-themed novel in 1914, and though he showed it to some close friends, he didn't publish it in his lifetime. It eventually came out after his death, in the early 1970s.
What a gift to have a novel about same sex love written a century ago by one of the premier 20th century British authors!
When Forster penned Maurice, homosexuality was so taboo that there was no name for it. For a man to be with another man was a criminal offense. One of the most touching things about this very moving book is seeing the protagonist – the closeted, very ordinary stockbroker Maurice – struggling to describe who he is and what he's feeling. He eventually comes up with something about Oscar Wilde. So very sad.
But how triumphant for Forster to have written this book and dedicated it "to a happier year." No one would argue that this is Forster's best novel. But it's an invaluable document about a group of men who experience the love that dare not speak its name.
I appreciate the fact that Maurice, unlike Forster himself, is a very unremarkable man: he's conservative, a bit of a snob, not very interested in music or philosophy and rather dull. But he's living with this extraordinary secret that affects his entire life. And the book shows how he deals with it, in his secretive relationship with his Cambridge friend Clive Durham, and later with gamekeeper Alec Scudder.
It would have been so easy for Forster to write a novel about a sensitive, soulful, brilliant, sympathetic character. How could we not love him, even though he's gay? But that seems to be part of his point. Maurice is a middle-class Everyman – certainly he's not as intelligent as Clive – but isn't he as worthy of love as anyone else?
Some details in the book are dated. The language at times feels stilted. The class system isn't as pronounced today as it was then. And of course there's a whole new attitude towards homosexuality and thousands of books to reflect that.
But there are still people and organizations trying to "cure" others of homosexuality (think of the group Exodus); young people are still committing suicide because of their sexuality; gays and lesbians are still choosing to live a closeted life by marrying members of the opposite sex; and let's not forget that in some parts of the world, being gay is cause for death.
So really: how dated is this book?
Considering that authors decades after Forster wrote veiled gay characters in straight drag, or killed off one or more characters (see: Brokeback Mountain), how revolutionary is it to have a gay love story with a happy ending?
It's absolutely revolutionary.
Now: who's going to write the sequel?
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Read information about the authorEdward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".
He had five novels published in his lifetime, achieving his greatest success with A Passage to India (1924) which takes as its subject the relationship between East and West, seen through the lens of India in the later days of the British Raj.
Forster's views as a secular humanist are at the heart of his work, which often depicts the pursuit of personal connections in spite of the restrictions of contemporary society. He is noted for his use of symbolism as a technique in his novels, and he has been criticised for his attachment to mysticism. His other works include Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908) and Maurice (1971), his posthumously published novel which tells of the coming of age of an explicitly gay male character.
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