Saturday, 6 March 2010

E.M Forster's 'Maurice'

'Would you care to read my novel? To you it will reveal a new and painful world, into which you will hardly have occasion to glance again: a tiny world that is generally unknown to all who are not born into it.'
E. M Forster

I am currently three hundred and fifty-five words into my first piece of coursework for this semester and as the book I'm writing on is rather phenomenal, I thought I'd impart some literary knowledge and encourage you to pick up a copy of this little known novel. Overshadowed greatly by its more famous siblings 'A Room with a View' and 'A Passage to India', I think 'Maurice' is a crucial place to start with Forster. Written and conceived of between 1913 and 1914, the novel was published posthumously in 1970 and explores, with eloquence and delicacy, one man's homosexual awakening at Cambridge University and navigation through heartbreak, hypnotherapy, conformity within a crippling class system and condemning heteronormative society. The novel reflects, to some extent, Forster's own life and it is a truly moving love story and I'd greatly recommend it. Here is a teaser passage to further whet your appetite:

Whom should he consult? Young Jowitt was the only doctor he knew well, and the day after that railway journey he managed to remark to him in casual tones, 'I say, in your rounds here, do you come across unspeakables of the Oscar Wilde sort?' But Jowitt replied, 'No, that's in the asylum work, thank God,' which was discouraging, and perhaps it might be better to consult someone whom he should never see again. He thought of specialists, but did not know whether there were any for his disease, nor whether they would keep faith if he confided in them. On all other subjects he could command advice, but on this, which touched him daily, civilistation was silent.

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