• ‘I’d rather be dirty’: The Queering of the Greenwood in E. M. Forster’s Maurice

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    ‘I’d rather be dirty’: The Queering of the Greenwood in E. M. Forster’s Maurice

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Abstract

This essay reads anew E.M. Forster’s seminal homosexual bildungsroman Maurice as the hundredth anniversary of its first draft approaches. The novel was finally published posthumously in 1971 but the drafting process had a long and meandering history. The relatively recent appearance of the drafts, along with Forster’s notes, suggest a more explicit, or 'dirty', novel than the one that finally appeared. With reference to Forster’s conception of ‘the greenwood’ in these earlier drafts as well as in the final version, this essay reads the novel as a surprisingly anarchic celebration of the relationship between homosexuality and dirt. However, it is not concerned with uncovering the “dirt” of Maurice in the abject sense. It argues that there is a synthesis of sexual and green politics in the novel that harks back to a tradition of English maverick thought which we find not only in Edward Carpenter’s philosophy, the inspiration for the novel, but in the Cavalier literature of the English Civil War and in the representation of the green man in English history and myth.

How to Cite: Bush, J . (2013) “‘I’d rather be dirty’: The Queering of the Greenwood in E. M. Forster’s Maurice”, Dandelion: Postgraduate Arts Journal and Research Network. 4(1). doi: 10.16995/ddl.274

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Published on
26 Apr 2013
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