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'Ah for darkness...not the darkness of a house which coops up a man among furniture, but the darkness where he can be free!'
Maurice Hall knows he must choose between living life in the shadows or denying himself a chance at love and fulfilment. Aware of his attraction to the same sex, in a time where it was considered unlawful and immoral to have homosexual desires, Maurice must decide whether to battle or submit to a prejudiced 20th-century English society.
A passionate and poignant tale, E.M. Forster's Maurice was a masterpiece ahead of its time. Incapable of believing that his contemporaries would accept its content, Forster refused to publish it, fearing that it would expose his sexuality along with his hero's.
Having witnessed, at 16, the very public trial and chastisement of Oscar Wilde, Forster grew up with an acute awareness of the kind of society he inhabited. This affected him immensely and, as such, he refused to publish any further fiction during the last 37 years of his life. Despite being one of the most celebrated authors of British history, Forster's talents were as constrained as his love life. Realising that he could never publically talk or write about the issues he held close to his heart, Forster made A Passage to India his last work.
He wasn't mistaken about his society, and when Maurice was published, posthumously, many were scandalised by the controversial content.
Unfortunately, Forster never experienced the freedom which his protagonist seeks, but Maurice has far outlived an age of bigotry and is now widely celebrated and critically acclaimed.
Having started his career as a leading child actor, Peter Firth received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Peter Shaffer's play Equus (1973) at only 21. He later starred with Richard Burton in its film adaption, earning him a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award nomination. His other film work has included roles in Pearl Harbor (2001) and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005).
He is best known for his role as Sir Harry Pearce in the BBC show Spooks (2002-2011), appearing in every episode of the show's 10 series. Recent roles have included Jacob Marley in the BBC's Dickensian series (2015) and Ernest Augustus in ITV's drama series Victoria (2016).
He has narrated several audiobooks such as Tess of the D'Urbervilles, Birdsong and Witness. In 2015, Peter starred in Audible's multicast drama Amok.
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Good classic by EM Forster
Forster at his best