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Further Notices


Maurice, a novel by E. M. Forster, written during 1913/14, but published posthumously in 1971, is the story of a young middle class man searching for an own identity within a society which denies his desire for love to a person of the same sex.

With the plot starting just before the protagonist's 15th birthday the reader follows Maurice's life through public school, Cambridge and his deceased father's stock broking firm, Hill and Hall. Forster omits the childhood of - and by that the influences of society on - Maurice Hall. The reader only learns about his early childhood, that he and his sisters Ada and Kitty were brought up by their widowed mother.

Maurice is depicted as an ordinary man. That makes it easier for him to disguise as 'normal' (i.e. heterosexual) person. Successively he experiences a profound emotional and sexual awakening. His first homosexual relation to Clive Durham at Cambridge breaks up when Clive decides to marry. Later Maurice thinks about overcoming his sexual desires but fails falling in love with Alec Scudder, the gamekeeper on Clive's country estate. The novel ends happily. Forster wrote that although the happy end was not plausible, he had not wanted to let the novel end disastrous.

Maurice is a plea for emotional and sexual honesty, and it criticises the repressive attitudes of British society. Aware that the publication of that novel would cause a furore, Forster prepared it for posthumous publication adding the line 'Publishable - but worth it?' to the cover of the manuscript.

Film Adaption

Maurice (1987) was directed by James Ivory, adaption for film by Kit Hesketh-Harvey et al.. Cast overview: James Wilby - Maurice Hall, Rupert Graves - Alec Scudder, Hugh Grant - Clive Durham; rest of cast listed alphabetically: Kitty Aldridge - Kitty Hall, Maria Britneva - Mrs. Sheepshanks, Simon Callow - Mr. Ducie, Denholm Elliott - Doctor Barry, John Elmes - Hill, Peter Eyre - Rev. Borenius, Alan Foss - Old Man on Train, Barry Foster - Dean Cornwallis, Philip Fox - Dr. Jowitt, Patrick Godfrey (I) - Simcox, Olwen Griffiths - Mrs. Scudder, Chris Hunter (I) - Fred Scudder, Michael Jenn - Archie, Ben Kingsley - Lasker-Jones, Breffni McKenna - Guardsman, Helena Michell - Ada Hall, Phoebe Nicholls - Anne Durham, Judy Parfitt - Mrs. Durham, Mark Payton - Chapman, Catherine Rabett - Pippa Durham, Miles Richardson - Third Undergraduate, Phillada Sewell - Matron, Matthew Sim - Featherstonhaugh, Andrew St. Clair - Second Undergraduate, Mark Tandy - Risley, Harriet Thorpe - Barmaid, Julian Wadham - Hull, Richard Warner (I) - Judge, Orlando Wells - Young Maurice, Billie Whitelaw - Mrs. Hall, Alan Whybrow - Mr. Scudder, ....; runtime: 140 min.; country: UK; language: English; colour: colour (Technicolor); sound: Dolby; certification: Finland:K-16, France:U, Hong Kong:III, Sweden:11, UK:15, USA:R.


Image: Cover of Maurice.

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