Maurice (novel)

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Maurice is a novel (written in 1912-1913, published posthumously in 1971) by E. M. Forster. It was dedicated to a happier year.

Part One[edit]

  • Puberty was there, but not intelligence, and manhood was stealing on him, as it always must, in a trance.
  • Then darkness rolled up again, the darkness that is primeval but not eternal, and yields to its own painful dawn.
  • He had been such a man all the evening, but the old feeling came over him as soon as his mother had kissed him good night.
  • He knew what it was, it reminded him of nothing horrible. But he was afraid.
  • Who was George? Nobody- just a common servant. Mother and Ada and Kitty were far more important. But he was too little to argue this. He did not even know that when he yielded to this sorrow he overcame the spectral and fell asleep.
  • Having been bullied as a new boy, he bullied others when they seemed unhappy or weak, not because he was cruel but because it was the proper thing to do.
  • He had lost the precocious clearness of the child which transfigures and explains the universe, offering answers of miraculous insight and beauty.
  • Maurice's secret life can be understood now; it was part brutal, part ideal, like his dreams.
  • He dared not to be kind- it was not the thing- still less to express his admiration in words. And the adored one would shake him off before long, and reduce him to sulks.
  • All that came out of the chaos were the two feelings of beauty and tenderness that he had first felt in a dream. They grew yearly, flourishing like plants that are all leaves and show no sign of flower.
  • Everyone and everything had suddenly harmonized. Was this the world?
  • Dr. Barry went on lecturing him, and under the cover of a friendly manner said much that gave pain.
  • He stood still in the darkness instead of groping about in it, as if this was the end for which body and soul had been so painfully prepared.
  • You could call your cousin a shit if you liked, but not a eunuch. Rotten style!
  • If obliged to ask himself, "What's all this?" he would have replied, "Durham is another of those boys in whom I was interested at school," but he was obliged to ask nothing, and merely went ahead with his mouth and his mind shut.
  • He didn't so much as have hopes, for hope distracts, and he had a great deal to see to.
  • When they sat it was nearly always in the same position- Maurice in a chair, and Durham at his feet, learning against him. In the world of their friends this attracted no notice. Maurice would stroke Durham's hair.
  • Durham couldn't do without him, and would be found at all hours curled up in his room and spoiling to argue.
  • The mist would lower again, he felt sure, and with an unhappy sigh, he pulled Durham's head against his knee, as though it was a talisman for clear living.
  • He loved men and always had loved them. He longed to embrace them and mingle his being with theirs. Now that the man who returned his love had been lost, he admitted this.
  • "Oh, you'll get out. It's only the Hell of Disgust. You've never done anything to be ashamed of, so you don't know what's really Hell."

Part Two[edit]

  • He could control the body; it was the tainted soul that mocked his prayers.
  • The man was bourgeois, unfinished and stupid- the worst of confidants.
  • They kissed, scarcely wishing it.
  • He had pretended to himself that he had enjoyed it, and thus increased his misery.
  • "I should have gone through life half awake if you'd had the decency to leave me alone."
  • Maurice did not interrupt: it was all charming nonesense to him.
  • No tradition overawed the boys. No convention settled what was poetic, what absurd. They were concerned with a passion that few English minds have admitted, and so created untrammled. Something of exquisite beauty arose in the mind of each at last, something unforgettable and eternal, but built of the humblest scraps of speech and from the simplest emotions.
  • Alive, but slightly absurd; they misunderstood him so utterly: they exposed their weakness when they thought themselves most acute. He could not help smiling.
  • It had not occurred to him before that neither he nor his friend would leave life behind him.
  • "For love to end where it begins is far more beautiful, and Nature knows it."
  • When love flies it is remembered not as love but as something else. Blessed are the uneducated, who forget it entirely, and are never conscious of folly or pruriency in the past, of long aimless conversations.
  • No argument ever touched her, because she was tenderness, who reconciles present with past.

Part Three[edit]

  • A refined nature would have behaved better and perhaps have suffered less.
  • What was the use of money-grubbing, eating, and playing games? That was all he did or had ever done.
  • He had accomplished an act of creation, and as he did so Death turned her head away.
  • To anyone he would have seemed beautiful, and to Maurice who reached him by two paths he became the World's desire.
  • The incestuous jealousy, the mortification, the rage at his past obtuseness- these might pass, and having done much harm they did pass.
  • Lust is negligible when absent.
  • The ethereal past had blinded him, and the highest happiness he could dream was a return to it.
  • What a solid young citizen he looked- quiet, honourable, prosperous without vulgarity. On such does England rely. Was it conceivable that on Sunday last he had nearly assaulted a boy?
  • Maurice stood over him, black-browed, and saw in this disgusting and dishonourable old age his own.
  • "I'm an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort."
  • "The worst thing I could do for you is to discuss it."

Part Four[edit]

  • They slept separate at first, as if proximity harassed them, but towards morning a movement began, and they woke deep in each other's arms.
  • "Someone to last your whole life and you his. I suppose such a thing can't really happen outside sleep."
  • Each human being seemed new, and terrified him: he spoke to a race whose nature and numbers were unknown, and whose very food tasted poisonous.
  • "Nothing's the same for anyone. That's why life's this Hell, if you do a thing you're damned, and if you don't you're damned-"
  • I am perfectly aware I am only a servant that never presume on your loving kindness to take liberties or in any other way.
  • Science is better than sympathy, if only it is science.
  • He had acted wrongly, and was still being punished- but wrongly because he had tried to get the best of both worlds.
  • After all, is not a real Hell better than a manufactured Heaven?
  • He had begun rough and gay and somehow factitious, then his voice had died away into sadness as though truth had risen to the surface of the water and was unbearable.
  • Love was an emotion through which you occasionally enjoyed yourself. It could not do things.
  • "You care for me a little bit, I do think," he admitted, "but I can't hang all my life on a little bit. You don't. You hang yours on Anne. You don't worry whether your relation with her is platonic or not, you only know it's big enough to hang a life on."
  • "I was yours once till death if you'd cared to keep me, but I'm someone else's now - I can't hang about whining for ever- and he's mine in a way that shocks you, but why don't you stop being shocked, and attend to your own happiness?"
  • He had always liked his friend's laugh, and at such a moment the soft rumble of it reassured him; it suggested happiness and security.
  • They were his last words, because Maurice had disappeared thereabouts, leaving no trace of his presense except a little pile of the petals of the evening primrose, which mourned from the ground like an expiring fire.
  • He did not realize that this was the end, without twilight or compromise, that he should never cross Maurice's track again, nor speak to those who had seen him.

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