Jessica's Reviews > Maurice

Maurice by E.M. Forster
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's review
Oct 25, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: happyendings, hagging-out
Recommended for: the gays, the classicists, admirers of the gays and classicists
Read in January, 1999

A beloved college professor used this novel as his starting point for a glorious Humanities lecture on "The Unspeakable Vice of the Greeks." Except for the time I fell down the stairs of the lecture hall and dislocated my shoulder, that's pretty much the only morning I remember from my freshman year.

I love Forster's attitude toward his characters, which is similar to one a social worker might have towards his clients: he doesn't romanticize them and sees all of their faults, even emphasizing important weaknesses, but never in a critical way and ever with an eye to the characters' strengths and what's good in them, and always with such powerful, empathic -- yet uniquely, subtly distanced -- affection. He wants us to understand them, and seeks to clarify their motivations and make sense of their actions, which he does through illumination of their internal worlds. Ultimately, in doing so, he locates and describes their humanity, which reaffirms his concept of humanity in general, and so makes a certain circular sense of what he's doing.... If only people'd write psychosocials with Forster's skill! Oh, well. In any case, E. M. probably would've been a great social worker, but I'm still glad he chose writing instead.

Maurice is also worth reading if only because it's got what I personally remember as the most ridiculous ending in modern literature.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Ollie I quite liked the ending - it was fitting for Clive to spend the rest of his life wondering how much of his final speech Maurice heard before disappearing into the night. And the final line, where he wonders how he'll lie to his wife, rings to me as very truthful of the lives of many gay men who chose a heterosexual life for the sake of appearances, money, society, etc.

Jordan Alright loved your review. Have to say the whole imagine of Forster being a social worker cracked me up. I also thought the last line in your review did a wonderful job of summing up the whole feel of the book, and making me laugh.
I have been turned on to your reviews through my friend Manny. He is quite the reviewer himself. : )
I can now see he has not lead me astray about your reviews. Very enjoyable. : )

message 3: by Manny (new)

Manny I liked your comment about how Forster would have made a good social worker! It reminded me of an incident that occurred a couple of years ago. My older son is autistic spectrum, and the place where he's stays was opening a new facility. Princess Sophie came down to cut the tape, or whatever they do, and she got to hang out with some of the kids.

Jonathan's cute and very verbal, so he was one of the people who met her. He said he didn't think she was much of a princess, but she was totally cool about it. Afterwards, the staff told her that they thought she had natural talent for dealing with autistic teenagers, and any time she wanted a job there just let them know. She hasn't got back to them yet though...

Jessica Manny, I love this comment. It reminds me of how I have always been convinced that I'd make a great princess!

message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny You know, that could be the reality show to end all reality shows. You and Princess Sophie swap jobs for a year. People both in Britain and in the US would watch nothing else, the ratings would touch new records. Write and suggest it to her! Our poor Royal Family needs some good news for a change...

Josephine  the Rereader Alright, I am dying to know, why did you find the ending ridiculous Jessica?

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