Saturday, June 4, 2011


I have just finished E. M. Forster’s originally controversial novel Maurice (255 pages). If you are not familiar, it is an early 20th century novel (wrote between 1913 and 1914 but only published until 1971 when the author died) that follows the life, from boyhood to early adult life, of a homosexual man by the name of (you guessed it!) Maurice!

Coming from a very accepting-of-everyone family, thankfully, I naturally wasn’t ‘shocked’ by the novel (wow who could have guessed a man could love other men and not women!) but I can appreciate how courageous and adventurous Forster was by writing a gay novel at a time when homosexuality wasn’t just frowned upon but punishable by law. Hence the reason why there was such a gap between writing the novel and its publication (the author only showed it to close friends during his life).

Anyway, enough about the book as a controversial piece or work, how about we actually talk about the novel?

I have two main things to blog, rant, rave, write, and talk about in regards to Maurice; the main character, and the epilogue (it is no secret now that I loathe epilogues).

I hate to compare good literature to movies but I will do that just now to articulate how I felt about the main character. You know when you are watching a romantic comedy or, more accurately, a romantic drama the main aim is for you to love the main character (the hopeless romantic) and root for him/her to end up with the man/woman of their dreams. However, there are those exceptions that, either due to the writer, director, or actor, when you just can’t root for them because they are just awful people. Maurice belongs to the latter group.

Throughout the novel I did feel sorry for Maurice trying to fit in a world where his happiness (romantically anyway) is dependent on a legally unattainable end. That being said, I could really feel sorry for him at all because he just wasn’t a nice human being; he was arrogant, awful to his friends and family, and just generally full of himself.

In regards to the epilogue; there wasn’t one. Why mention something in a novel that isn’t there, you ask? Well, an authors note at the end of the book mentions that originally he did have an epilogue (basically a ‘where are they now’ idea) but decided against it and I am so happy about that! Forster made the decision (that so many other authors avoid) to let the book end on an interesting note and allow the reader’s imagination decide what happens later on, instead of spoon feeding us an epilogue that offends our intelligence by hinting that we, as readers, as incapable of independent thought. I also read a short summary online explaining what was in the epilogue (apparently it is still in one particular edition of the novel) and it would have completely ruined the whole book for me!

The final thing I want to say is another of the interesting words I find in the pages of the numerous novels I read. This isn’t exactly a ‘new word’ but a new way of describing something. When Maurice is trying to explain that he is gay, without actually addressing it directly, he says, “I’m an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort” (Forster 159). If you are a member of the small amount of people that don’t know who Oscar Wilde is, feel free to search him online to see how funny this description is! Also, at the side is an image of him in all his dandyism.

The edition I read was ISBN: 0-393-31032-9.

Forster, E. M. Maurice. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 1993. Print.

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