Publishable, but worth it? by Anna Larner

27 May

Bold Strokes Books, UK

Em Forster

E M Forster

‘Publishable – but worth it?’ are the words of E M Forster, inscribed on the cover of the typescript of his novel, Maurice.

Completed in 1914, Maurice depicts the turmoil of middleclass Englishman, Maurice Hall, who falls in love with another man at a time (1912) when to do so risked everything. “I’m an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort.”2Maurice was one of the first gay books I read. And at seventeen, with no language to express my longing, to find the words that spoke of it meant everything to me. Maurice Hall’s turmoil was my turmoil, his fear of discovery my fear, his internal questioning my questioning, and, above all, his wish for ‘a friend’ my own heartfelt desire:-

“The second dream is more difficult to convey. Nothing happened. He scarcely saw a face, scarcely heard a voice say, ‘That is your friend’…

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