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EM Forster ‘stopped writing because he had gay sex’

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  1. Jean-Paul 7 Jun 2010, 5:29pm

    This is not news, but I would at least like to know the name of the scholar who has ‘discovered, it now.

    I’m no expert, but I know that Edward Morgan Forster (1879-1970) did stop writing novels after ‘A Passage to India’ (1924), but that he did write hundreds of literary criticisms and essays.

    It’s strange that a scholar who now has access to E.M Forster’s private papers tells us so much we already knew, except for the names of his life-long lover.

    More, more, more.

    1. I would argue that he didn’t stop because he had gay sex – I would argue that the pressure of homophobia and not being able to openly celebrate his truth after he had gay sex are the reason he stopped writing.

  2. Ladyfriend 7 Jun 2010, 5:29pm

    Oh leave the poor man alone. It is obvious from Maurice that he was tortured by his true feelings and the social straightjacket of his times. Why rake over it all.

    1. As a cautionary tale of what we lose when we let homophobia win?

  3. Almost too tempting to speculate on the Magnum Opus that could have been, which draws on themes from all his previous masterworks: “The View of Howard’s End Passage!”

    Ehem… yeh… I apologise unreservedly for lowering the tone of a serious article with a dubious double-entendre.
    I’ll get my coat.

  4. I don’t think having gay sex killed his creative drive, this seems more like heterosexuals looking into the sex about homosexuality because that it’s the only thing being gay is in the view of the heterosexual. This is society at the time not allowing him to express is true self, nothing to do with sex, that is merely a turning point. I find this “discovery” unhelpful for any gay movement, and makes it sound like gay people are uncreative sex crazed fools.

  5. Its a shame he didnt live a few more years to see gay sex decriminalised, he spent his whole life in the closet only to die just before he could come out of it

    1. He did see it decriminalised. He died in 1971. Homosexuality was decriminalised in the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. There were still some limitations, but it was to all intents and purposes no longer illegal. So he had three years of relative freedom.

  6. @3:

    Here’s your hat; what’s your hurry. he he.

  7. Jean-Paul 8 Jun 2010, 4:26am

    E.M. Forster was born on this day, June 8, 1912.

  8. Jean-Paul 8 Jun 2010, 4:28am

    sorry, that was Turing, he he. I’m so confused…

  9. Jean-Paul 8 Jun 2010, 4:35am

    Forster died on this day, June 8, 1970….I think.

  10. A recent biography about a talented gay but closeted New Zealand writer Bill Pearson made a similar suggestion. Bill changed his magnum opus to disguise his protagonist’s homosexuality but subsequently couldn’t write dishonest novels. See a review on Gaynz.com
    http://www.gaynz.com/articles/publish/23/article_8819.php

  11. Great artists are distracted by all sorts of things. Shakespeare stopped writing plays when he made a fortune and went home to be a country gentleman.
    It was a great loss to our letters that Forster stopped writing fiction so early – his observation of British manners is superb – but his genius depended heavily on his nose for hypocrisy. Maybe his own albeit partial rejection of it did indeed contribute to the pen drying up. And maybe there is something to the old cliché about artistic creativity depending on some desires being blocked or denied. But it must happen to straights as well!

  12. As an academic myself this looks like academic wankery – part of the publish or perish mentality. I’m sure associate professor whats her name will now get a promotion – too precious for words.

  13. Jean-Paul 8 Jun 2010, 2:32pm

    @10 Kay;

    Thanks for that.

    Here in Canada, I grew up vaguely aware of New Zealand until I saw the TV coverage of Georgina Meyers…about 15 years ago, just after she was elected as an MP for Labor.

    Now, back to Forster, he did insist on a happy ending for “Maurice”, depicting homosexual love as guiltless and fulfilling.

  14. Michael Mason 8 Jun 2010, 5:09pm

    No secret about it, Jean Paul. EMF’s lover was a man called Bob Buckingham whom he introduced to several of his friends. J R Ackerley’s diaries (published back in the 1970s) often refer to the couple by name. Benjamin Britten was part of their circle too.

  15. Adele Winston 8 Jun 2010, 7:41pm

    Beatrix Potter stopped writing when she started having sex, too. Nothing sinister about it. She was simply busy.

  16. Adele Winston 8 Jun 2010, 7:52pm

    Beatrix Potter stopped writing when she started having sex, too. Nothing sinister. She was just too busy.

  17. Forster lost his virginity aged 38 to an injured soldier on an Egyptian beach.

    The man is injured, probably from fatal bullets wounds and the first thing you think to do with him is have sex ? Treat the man’s health first, for God’s sake !!

  18. @Adele – that’s what happens when your creative muse is a rabbit ;)

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