E.M. Forster’s classic gay novel MAURICE is a tale of homosexual love in early 20th-century England. Forster based the story on that of his close friend the poet Edward Carpenter and his partner, George Merrill who were the inspiration for that of Maurice and Alec Scudder.
Forster, a closeted gay man showed the novel to a select few of his friends but did not seek to publish it during his lifetime, believing it to have been unpublishable during that period due to public and legal attitudes to same-sex love. A note found on the manuscript read: “Publishable, but worth it?”
It was eventually published posthumously in 1971, and then made into a movie by Merchant Ivory in 1987. When it had its World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival Ivory was awarded a Silver Lion as Best Director, sharing the prize with Ermanno Olmi, James Wilby and Hugh Grant were jointly awarded Best Actor, and Richard Robbins received the prize for his music.
Forster was particularly keen that Maurice should have a happy ending, even though this would make the book too controversial. However, by the time he died, British attitudes, and law, had changed and now the ending is one of the main reasons that Maurice is such a firm favorite within the LGBT community.
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