MAURICE by E.M. Forster

MAURICE

A Novel
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KIRKUS REVIEW

It is tempting to suggest that E. M. Forster should have left his long heralded and posthumously published novel about homosexual love back where it belonged, a little before the First World War, fifty years before Gay Lib and the Wolfenden Report. It is a very simple story of a typically English middle-class gentleman's search for an end to loneliness, first through Maurice's intellectual and nearly platonic Cambridge friend Clive (whose declaration of love shocks bourgeois Maurice into the realization of his own tendencies) and later and more permanently through Alec, Clive's Lawrentian gamekeeper. Unfortunately Clive, who disposes of Maurice in a rather unkind fashion when he discovers that he has become "like other men," is far more credible than Maurice, whose anguished search and ultimate estrangement from society seem forced by the author. He is one of Forster's "flat" characters, having qualities rather than personality, his actions and thoughts predictable as real men's never are. The language is prudish ("acts" for masturbation) and sentimental of the portentous and flowery kind ("his hour was not yet"), archaic in its idealistic conception of both love and sex, and as defensively asserting and self-conscious as Lady Chatterley's Lover. The book ultimately becomes a literary curio, perhaps socially useful (prominent figures make the gay world a little more respectable) but uninteresting except as a historical document to people hip enough to realize that a person's sexual preference isn't all that important, or, once the shouting is over and the novelty accepted, even terribly interesting.
Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1971
ISBN: 0393310329
Page count: 260pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1971




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