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Maurice (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 28 Jul 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (28 July 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141441135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141441139
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 24,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A classic novel, irresistibly repackaged. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) wrote six novels - Where Angels Fear to Tread (1905), The Longest Journey (1907), A Room with a View (1908), Howards End (1910), A Passage to India (1924). Maurice , written in 1914, was published posthumously in 1971. He also published two volumes of short stories; two collections of essays; a critical work (Aspects of the Novel); The Hill of Devi; two biographies; two books about Alexandria; and the libretto for Britten's opera Billy Budd.

David Leavitt is the author of several novels and story collections, most recently The Body of Jonah Boyd (2004). With Mark Mitchell, he edited the Penguin US edition of E.M. Forster's Selected Stories, as well as The New Penguin Book of Gay Short Stories. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he is Professor of English at the University of Florida.

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First Sentence
Once a term the whole school went for a walk - that is to say the three masters took part as well as all the boys. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steve on 11 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maurice is not among the pioneering works of gay literature in that, though written before World War I, it was only published in 1970, after Forster's death, so it did not carve out a new territory of freedom for gay men. Forster himself said that the book was, by the close of his life, dated. And so it is in that it portrays a society that is long gone. But the emotional torment of Maurice as he struggles, in real pain, with his sexuality still strikes a chord, as does the brilliant portrayal of Maurice's inner conviction that everything that is wrong with him is also everything that is right for him as well.
Forster's prose is taut and understated, full of striking images and strong on irony. He also, perceptively for the time when he was writing, portrays a society on the verge of being swept away. Penge, the grand but delapidated country house of Maurice's friend Clive, is a symbol of a crumbling class system. The uneasy relationship between Maurice and Alec Scudder, when they are in the position of master and servant, rather than equals as lovers, perfectly describes the ambiguity and injustice of a deeply unfair social order. Maurice remains a remarkable book in its own right, as well as a poignant insight into the inner turmoil of Forster's own life in an age when to be gay was a crime and a sickness. The love between Alec and Maurice can only be consummated in secret. Society is governed by hypocrisy. This is a fascinating and moving glimpse of a world which, praise be, has gone forever.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mike Cormack on 18 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
This novel, whilst by no means the greatest of Foster's, does however strike at the heart of the values and ideals his works espoused. While his novels had been written as it were "professionally" (so that he said that of the immensely successful "Howards End", which had preceded "Maurice", that there was no character in it for whom he really cared), "Maurice" is an intensely personal novel. It seems funny to think nowadays, but Forster only fully realised his homosexuality about the age of 26. Initially preferring "Platonic" relationships, he came to value the phyisical aspect more and more, and "Maurice" to some extent documents this.

The plot is fairly simple. Maurice Hall, a highly conventional youth of the pre-World War One era, goes to Cambridge, and there is gradually shaken from his suburban preconceptions. He meets Risley, and through him Clive Durham, and they gradually fall in love. Their relationship is platonic and chaste, rather charmingly. However, Clive (somehow) decided to "go straight", leaving Maurice in an abyss of loneliness and despair. When Clive marries, he goes to visit, and there meets Clive's gamekeeper Alec Scudder, with whom he eventually has a happy, physically-fulfilling relationship.

The main imagery of the novel concerns self-knowledge and self-revelation. Light and darkness are used as appropriate symbols - Maurice seeking the light of (self)knowledge, and is "afraid of the dark". In contrast to "Howards End" the novel is deliberately fragmentary, with short chapters and often some (unexplained) time between them. This suits the subject matter, as Maurice's gradual self-revelation comes to him in fits and starts, not following a smooth trajectory.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Oliver Redfern on 18 May 2008
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful, and short, story of a gay man's search for love. Because it's set at the start of the 20th century, the main character, Maurice, doesn't know the name for what he feels, nor that it's completely normal. Through his eyes, we see the discovery of his affections for other men, in contrast to what society, church and government expects from him. We see how trapped he is by class, and how he ultimately must give up his social status if he wants to be free to love.

Maurice must have anachronistically influenced Mary Renault's The Charioteer because the same themes pop up: gay men's secret society in prudish England, the idea of first love versus mature love, the hypocrisy of the bourgeois, etc. But, unlike "The Charioteer", this novel is more about the exploration of three world views (the atheist, the christian and the hellenistic) attitude towards homosexuality; and the disappointments a man must go through before he finds true love. E. M. Forster later wrote that the novel would date and merely be interesting as a period piece; but he was wrong: there's a lot to learn from comparing how different our attitude is to homosexuality today in contrast to a hundred years ago; and there's a lot that has been lost now that so many men no longer know what exists beyond lust.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By fish and chips on 29 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
Forster's works include Room with a view and passage to India however Maurice is truly his greatest and most beautiful work of literature. A deep insight into the attitudes towards homosexuality in the early 19th century it's hard to believe that this novel is often overlooked. Forster's breaks all barriers towards homosexuality, even going so far as to create a astounding moral ground as to the subject, when during his time it was considered sinful and even a disease to be gay. It should never be completely labelled as "gay fiction," it touches on subjects of repression, identity and most importantly the real meaning of being "true to ourselves." If you're a college student its a good read. I recommend it.
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