What did you think of it?
Read it a long time back. I thought it was pretty good, but not as memorable as Howards End and Passage to India.
Exit, pursued by a bear.
I've always felt that E. M. Forster was far inferior to Somerset Maugham; yet Forster is far more lionized.
Haven't read Maurice; read Passage to India.
But the Merchant-Ivory film version of Maurice is excellent.
I think it's Forster's weakest work, but it's interesting contextually.
It's not very compelling, but if Forster had managed to get it published when he first wrote it in 1913 it would be a lot more groundbreaking.
Edit: I don't really get the Maugham comparison though, apart from both being early 20th century gay British authors, they are stylistically very different.
Last edited by OrphanPip; 08-11-2010 at 03:35 PM.
Well, Maugham wrote stories about:
Diaspora Jewish identity;
but never a gay story.
I don't get how that's even relevant.
Maugham was gay, it's well established, from the horse's mouth so to speak. It's not even a matter of speculation, like it is with Henry James. Although, it's not surprising he never wrote a gay story because he seems to have been a self-loathing homosexual who often complained about gays and then forced himself into an unhappy marriage. Yay for him, I guess?
My point was that Maugham is stylistically a spare, straightforward, cynical writer. While Forster was more of stylized, humanistic, and idealistic writer.
Edit: Although, there choice of subject matter does show different concerns as well.
Forster wrote about:
The struggle between classes
Racial struggle, and the relationship between colonized and colonizer.
Plenty of heterosexual affairs, and some interracial.
One interracial gay short story.
And ultimately about the qualities that bring human beings together.
Oh ya, and one gay love story with a happy ending, which he was unable to publish.
Mostly over a very short active writing period of about 20 years before mostly getting into broadcasting and essay writing.
I just don't think the two authors are all that similar that we need compare them.
Last edited by OrphanPip; 08-12-2010 at 12:20 AM.
How explicit is the novel? (no, I don't mean that in a perverted way) Because the film is essentially Lady Chatterley's Lover- or Lord Chatterley's Lover.
The book glosses over everything, there's one implied instance of sex between Maurice and Alec that I can recall, there's nothing at all graphic about the book.
There's definitely that element of class difference, which is specifically reinforced by the use of Alec's last name over and over. I didn't get the impression that Alec was very young, but maybe around 17-19, definitely younger than Maurice. Nothing out of the ordinary for 1913. He's a pretty empty character I find, and it's one of the weak points. Clive seems much more developed, even if he's kind of a miserable character.
I think what Forster was getting at in the first part is an exploration of Platonic male-male love, exemplified by Maurice and Clive flirtations that never go beyond Platonic love (though Maurice wishes it would). Then he tries to explore homosexual love through the scientific lens, this is shown through Maurice's attempts to be cured by doctors and the hypnotist. Finally, you get to a physical love, which is troubled by a class issue, and of course the illegality of the relationship. You then get a kind of typical misinterpretation of the relationship by both Maurice and Alec, which resolves itself like a typical romantic story. Finally, you get Clive, the unhappy repressed homosexual as counterpoint to Maurice who has achieved happiness finally through accepting that he can't be fixed by medicine, and that there's nothing wrong with physical expression of homosexual love.
I think what makes the novel kind of weak for Forster is how heavy handed the resolution feels. Although, it's mostly a good enough novel, and it's an interesting perspective given it was originally written in 1913. It's typical of Forster that he's concerned about transcending class bounds and showing the common human element of all people, no matter their ideas or origin. He uses love, like usual, as the tool to show how similar people are.