Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Maurice October 1971: David Leavitt Measures the Impact of E.M. Forster's Passionate Novel of Gay Love, Published after His Death. (Justifying Our Love)

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Maurice October 1971: David Leavitt Measures the Impact of E.M. Forster's Passionate Novel of Gay Love, Published after His Death. (Justifying Our Love)

Article excerpt

Although he had written Maurice in 1913 and 1914 (and dedicated it "to a happier year"), E. M. Forster would not allow the novel to be published during his lifetime. His reasons were various. First and foremost, to publish an explicitly homosexual novel (or at least one in which the hero neither committed suicide nor suffered punishment) might have opened him up in 1914 to criminal prosecution. The enactment of the Sexual Offences Act in 1967, as a consequence of the Wolfenden Report released 10 years earlier, eased the situation for homosexual men in England considerably. But by then, according to his biographer P.N. Furbank, Forster "was less interested ... in the theme of salvation, the rescuer from `otherwhere.'" Forster feared that the novel would date, and having reached the age of 88 in 1967, he had no wish to contend with the publicity. In the end, Maurice appeared in print in 1971, a year after Forster's death--proof of the therapist Lasker-Jones's claim in Maurice that "England has always been disinclined to accept human nature."

Because I was only 10 years old in 1971, the publication of Maurice took place without my even being aware of it. …

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