6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The Olden Gays,
This review is from: Maurice (Penguin Classics) (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.