Is Maurice a Hopelessly Flawed Text? Essay

3917 Words Oct 28th, 2008 16 Pages
Is “Maurice” a hopelessly flawed text, or a thoughtful adaptation of the novel form to the subject matter and a strong intervention in debates of the time?

E.M Forster dedicated his novel “Maurice” to a “happier year”, affirming his intention of the novel’s purpose as an insight into the future evolution of sexual desire and relationships, leading some to attach significance to the text as a protagonist of controversial debate of the time . Forster delayed publication of Maurice for 57 years waiting for a time where wider concepts of desire could be explored without recrimination . Indeed, it has been argued that the novel was self-prophetic in predicting experiences Forster had not had himself, who later described his own sex life
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Carpenter’s work “Homogenic Love” (1894) justifies a homophillic future through reference to the role played by homosexual bonds in civilisations of the past which clearly influences the stance in Maurice that homosexuality will have the greatest acceptance “if refracted through cultural nostalgia ”, which is symbolised through reference to the English greenwood .

Moreover, the depiction of a homosexual future as a return from an idealistic past arguably produces a “charming pastoral eclogue ”, which in turn is Forster’s method of fusing criminal and mainstream desire to bolster the defence against claims of perversion.

However, Maurice clearly has implications for homosexuality beyond this. The past/future syndrome contained in Maurice’s temporal nature conveys a broader vision of the relationship between sexuality, identity and time . As Gregory Bredbeck has observed the intertwinement of these three categories have created “alternative subjectivity of the “Urning” ”. This practice underpins the indivisibility of being and therefore the impossibility of distinct identity, which Forster utilises as a unifying concept justifying all love. Eve Sedgwick notes that “there currently exists no framework in which to ask about the origins of development of individual gay identity that is not already structured by an implicit, trans-individual Western project or fantasy of eradicating that identity ”. Accordingly, Forster’s “dis-identification ” through

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