Monday, March 22, 2010
with eyes that had gone intensely blue
I have spent all afternoon trying to write something about how wonderful E.M. Forster's Maurice is. It's a beautiful book on so many levels - the story, of Maurice Hall and his awakenings & growth - mostly sexual, but also spiritual, political - the rejection of urban England and civilisation - the love between Maurice and Clive and Alec - Maurice's heartbreak, which is so very devastating, like every first heartbreak is - the writing itself which is so tense, so perfect -the sense of change in the air -the way you can see Forster in the story - that, (according to Leavitt in the intro essay in the penguin 2005ed) Forster writes himself out of the story -the ending, which is so dearly vague as to let you think that maybe, maybe happy endings exist.
I loved this book. I've read it five times in the past week, which is not a massive thing because it's only 214 pages, but there's so much there. This is the best criticism of English culture I have ever read. This is the best gay novel I have read, because I think it's one of the best real love novels. The fact that this is a gay novel, written in 1914, is essential to what makes it great . I could go on and on and on about Maurice. But instead I think I'll cross my fingers and hope you love it as much as I do.
His mind had cleared, and he felt that they were against the whole world, that not only Mr Borenius and the field but the audience in the shed and all England were closing around the wickets. They played for the sake of each other and of their fragile relationship - if one fell the other would follow. They intended no harm to the world, but so long as it attacked, they must punish, they must stand wary, they must show that when two are gathered together majorities shall not triumph. And, as the game proceeded, it connected with the night, and interpreted it.
-page178-8, Maurice, E.M. Forster, Penguin 2005ed.