18 Classics of LGBTQ Literature

18 of 19

Maurice cover (Image via Penguin)

17. Maurice

Maurice was written by E.M. Forster (A Room With a View, Howards End) in 1913-1914 and revised a number of times through 1960. Though Forster would privately show the novel to a few friends, including fellow author Christopher Isherwood, it was only published in 1971 after Forster’s death. Forster did not believe that it would have been publishable in his lifetime, due to the public attitudes about same-sex love at the time. A note found on the manuscript read: “Publishable, but worth it?”

In the book, Maurice Hall feels that he is somehow set apart from the typical life of marriage with a woman. When he attends university, he enters into a relationship with fellow student Clive Durham. They keep their partnership a secret for two years until Clive announces that he will eventually marry a woman. Though it is clear that Clive’s eventual marriage will be a joyless facade, a heartbroken Maurice leaves.

Maurice attempts to “cure” himself of his homosexuality by seeing a hypnotist, Mr. Lasker Jones. However, it becomes clear that such treatments are futile and Maurice soon abandons them. He eventually enters into a relationship with Alec Scudder, a gamekeeper employed by the Durhams. Though Scudder initially threatens to blackmail Maurice, it becomes clear that they are in love with one another.

Through a series of difficulties and miscommunications, Scudder very nearly sails alone for Argentina. However, it is strongly implied that the pair meets again and begins to build a happy life together.