by E. M. Forster, E.M. Forster

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"The work of an exceptional artist working close to the peak of his powers." Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

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 afterHowards End, and not published until 1971, Mauricewas 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."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393310320
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/19/2005
Edition description: (A Reissue)
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 57,649
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

E. M. Forster was one of the major novelists of the first half of the twentieth century. He was born in 1879 and educated at Cambridge. His other novels include A Room with a View, Howards End, and A Passage to India. He died in 1970.

Date of Birth:

January 1, 1879

Date of Death:

June 7, 1970

Place of Birth:


Place of Death:

Coventry, England


B. A. in classics, King's College, Cambridge, 1900; B. A. in history, 1901; M.A., 1910

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Maurice 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Too_Wild_To_Tame More than 1 year ago
This book was very thought provoking. It can be looked at in two ways, which makes this a versitile book to readers. The first way you can read this book is purely for entertainment. You might need to have some inside research to understand the intellectual conversations that occur, but other than that this book makes sense without having to dig further into the words. On the other hand, the book holds a lot to be discovered and can easily by critically analyzed. This book makes you think about your own idea of 'normal' and 'natural'. It can even change your perspective on the boundaries of relationships. If homosexuality is something you are opposed to I would recommend you not to read this, unless you are willing to look at it with an open mind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good read, whether or not you are a homosexual. Forster's descriptions of the torment and soul-searching that come with finding affection and love speak to the experience of adults in general. Although his writing style can be a bit antiquated, this was not difficult to overcome and at many points you find yourself saying 'yeah...I know exactly what that feels like'. Now, as a young gay man in my early 20s who is just recently dealing with some of the special issues portrayed in the story, I found it particularly touching. I realize many heterosexuals probably wouldn't appreciate some of the subtle points Forster is getting at along these lines, but these aspects made the book especially relevant to my experiences. I became absorbed in the story, and I would caution that it should be read in a slow, meticulous way, digesting the scenes and relating with the characters. Plowing through in a few hours would not provide as good a reading experience. Perhaps then, my current life situation made this book seem particularly good to me, where another avid reader might disagree. As a relatively normal, masculine, average guy who (unfortunately?) is also a homosexsual I connected with the main character particularly well. I would definately urge any college aged guys who are dealing with their sexuality to check this out. I would also suggest it to anyone curious about what young guys in this situation must through...on those points it has definately not lost it's relevance.
ofstoneandice on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Imperfect, but lovely.
Medellia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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
bennyb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 read and I was impressed. I will definately read more of his works.
grumpyvegan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
MrJgyFly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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]h
aliciaaa1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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. 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.
h2olvr More than 1 year ago
bookshelves: grabs-my-heart, top-all-time-books, 20th-century-classic, british-scot-irish, classics, have-not-recovered-yet, m-m, made-me-angry, made-me-cry, made-me-think, why-did-i-wait-so-long-to-read-this, historical-fiction Read from October 03 to 06, 2014 Loneliness. Stark loneliness. That is what surrounds this book and oozes from its pages. Maurice is lonely in a way it is hard for us in the 21st century to fully emotionally understand. He is not particularly smart, but as an adult is good at business. He is not a loveable character but he is honest. He is not "normal" by his society's standards so he tries to disappear into a nothingness in his surroundings. If he trusted the wrong person with his desires, he could be arrested and killed. What a bleak world to grow and live within. He wanted only one thing, to be loved for who he was and to have that love returned. Is that what all of us want. But to have to hide all that is you made Maurice a sympathetic character. To want love in the times he lived made him a tragic character. To think you have found that love and to have it tossed aside like it was nothing and have him carry on with his life made him a heroic character. I just want to send love though the pages to him. As a young lad Maurice dreamed private dreams that he could not share. First about a young gardener, then about a fellow footballer and last about an unknown friend, a friend he wanted but did not have. A faceless youth who would say to others "this is my friend." Dreaming again. Too late." --- would actually pull him back to them in broad daylight and drop a curtin. Then he would reimbibe(sic) the face and the four words, and would emerge yearning with tenderness and longing to be kind to everyone, because his friend wished it, and to be good that his friend might become more fond of him. Misery was somehow mixed up with all this happiness. It seemed as certain that he hadn't a friend as that he had one, and he would find a lonely place for tears, attributing them to the hundred lines. Maurice's secret life can be understood now; it was part brutal, part ideal, like his dreams. Then he was nineteen and off to college and he met Clive Durham. Clive who talked constantly about so many things that Maurice could not understand but he loved to listen to Clive. Clive who was like him. Clive who he thought would be in his life forever. Clive who owned his heart but did not realize the responsibility that went with that ownership. A beautifully written work that is not dated but alive with meaning and feeling. The terminology struck me. The words for same sex love also added to the feeling of disengagement and loneliness. I have gotten this also from the Lord Jim books/short stories by Diane Gabaldon. No matter how bad things may be in the western world of today, they were so much worse before our time. Does not make today right but does make me hopeful. Haunting. That is the word I am left with at the end of this near perfect book. Beautifully written and Haunting. Good luck to you in your life, Maurice. You are real to me.
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
Maurice by E. M. Forster Although the book was written in 1913-14, it was not published until 1971. Maurice is the tale of three men in Victorian England, all of which belonged to different social classes yet shared one common trait: they were all homosexuals. Maurice Hall - the main character - is the son of a middle class stock broker. His father had died when Maurice was a child and he was raised by his mother and two sisters. He went to a preparatory school, then to a public school and later to Cambridge. He was average, handsome, athletic, stubborn, and snobbish. He was admitted to Cambridge where he was expected to finish school and join the Stock Broker firm that was established by his father, Hill and Hall. While at Cambridge, Maurice met Clive Durham. Born to an aristocratic family, Clive was supposed to finish Cambridge, get married and inherit his family's estate. However, Clive liked men. Soon, Clive and Maurice are in a platonic relationship. For the next three years, as they returned back to fulfill their expected roles, they maintained an intense love relationship until one day, out of the blue, when Clive decided to end it. Clive married Lady Ann Claire Wilbraham Woods. Maurice was reduced to accept charity from his prior lover as Clive ran for public office to fill his father's shoes. Clive maintained himself busy to avoid his old lover and encouraged him to marry. "He would live straight. not because it matter to anyone now, but for the sake of the game." (p. 62) Maurice was unable to do that and sought professional help, first from his family doctor - Dr. Barry - and later from a hypnotherapist - Mr. Laskes Jones. "When loves flies it is remembered not as love but as something else." (p. 120) On a visit to Penge - the Durham's estate - Maurice met Alec Scudder, Clive's gamekeeper. Their physical attraction was physical, strong, an immediate. They made love, they fell in love. But Alec was a gamekeeper, a member of the lower class. Alec was supposed to emigrate to Argentina, but it did not matter because Maurice was unable to bring himself to have a relationship with a member of the lower classes. After his return back to London, Alec wrote letters to Maurice. At first Maurice was very concerned - fearing blackmail - but it soon became clear that Alec was desperately trying to win Maurice back. After they met in London, Maurice realized that Alec was willing to give up his future to be together with him. Maurice decides to give up his position in society to be able to live with his boyfriend. The books ended with a final confrontation between Maurice and Clive, where Maurice told Clive: "You care for me a little bit, I do think,....but I can't hang all my life on a little bit....You don't worry whether your relationship with her (Anne) is platonic or not, you only know it's big enough to hang a life on. I can't hang mine on to the five minutes you spare me from her and politics....I was yours once till death if you'd cared to keep me, but I'm someone else's now...and he's mine in a way that shocks you....You belong to the past." ( p. 245). Told from the third person point of view, this is a tale of love and betrayal. A tale of Victorian England where homosexuality was illegal and scorned equally by all society. Although it was finished in 1914, it was not published until 1971. A great read....
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-ledavi More than 1 year ago
A beautifully-written book that more or less is good for a long think. The author doesn't favor one character over another, and the plot moves at a nice enough pace that the pages turn easily for the reader. Delving into a homosexual relationship can either be done horribly or excellently, and E.M. Forster has produced a touching novel with realistic characters that, honestly, made my heart ache for them on more than one occasion.
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Set and written in the early 1900's, this novel follows mostly upper-class English folk. Unfortunately, the language and writing style used from the time period is exactly what I found stopping me from enjoying this book. Although I love British slang (I could watch Ab Fab & Extras all day long), my adoration seemed to stop here. The language barrier also stopped me from fully connecting with the main character. While the story becomes interesting in a few places (especially from a historical perspective), if you're not into old upper-class English you will probably find this annoying to finish.