Wendy Moffat explains the long journey to publication of EM Forster's gay love story, Maurice. From 1913 until 1971 it was a secret manuscript, circulating among Forster's friends.
Forster's gay love story was a forbidden book. Written in 1913, inspired by a touch on the buttocks, 'Maurice' was only published in 1971 after Forster died. Nevertheless, for almost sixty years, it was a secret manuscript, clandestinely circulating among those Forster trusted. They included Lytton Strachey, Leonard Woolf, Siegfried Sassoon and Christopher Isherwood. Isherwood's comments especially prompted Forster to re-write, adding a sex scene and altering the ending. But for years he refused Isherwood's pressure to publish, until finally acquiescing to a posthumous publication, and sending the typescript by trusted couriers from Cambridge to America. Biographer Wendy Moffat talks about how she pieced together the details of this journey, scholar Philip Gardner looks at the manuscript changes and writer Peter Parker discusses Isherwood's influence on the finished novel.