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"Publishable-- but worth it?",
This review is from: Maurice: A Novel (Paperback)
According to the introduction of the book, this question was found after Forster's death scribbled by him on the cover of the 1960 typescript version of the novel. I think that while the answer for the reader has to be 'yes', it is also easy to see why Forster had his doubts.
The book was an intensely personal one for Forster, as it addresses the issue of homosexuality in the context of the early 20th century. Because of its subject matter, it was not published after it was written (1914) and Forster went on to significantly rewrite the book at different periods throughout his life. Although by the time of the last rewrite (1959-1960) Forster could have published the book in terms of its subject matter, he was not satisfied with the work itself. According to his biographers, he found it dated and had never been satisfied with the ending.
_Maurice_ tells the story of a conformist young man who finds himself increasingly attracted to his own sex. He moves from a disasterous relationship with an undergraduate friend to a more adult affair which finally causes him to break from the rules that he understood all his life.
While the book is historically fascinating, and actually quite emotionally affecting (Maurice is perhaps one of the fullest characters in Forster's novels) it suffers from its history of revision and uncertainly. There's a hesitance in the writing and a strangely jumpy character to many of the plot points. It doesn't make it less worth reading, but perhaps less perfect than some of Forster's other efforts.