With the posthumous publication of his long-suppressed novel Maurice in 1970, E. M. Forster came out as a homosexual. However, that revelation made barely a ripple in his literary reputation. "Forster’s homosexuality was the central fact of his life."
"Between [Oscar] Wilde’s imprisonment and the Stonewall riots, Forster led a long, strange, and imaginative life as a gay man. He preserved a vast archive of his private life—a history of gay experience he believed would find its audience in a happier time."
Homosexuality was illegal for almost his entire life. Forster was sixteen when Oscar Wilde was sent to prison for "gross indecency." He died in 1970, the year after the Stonewall riots.
Written around 1913 and 1914, Maurice is a gay love story and was highly controversial. Forster's sexuality had not previously been known or widely acknowledged until after his death and the book wasn't published until after his death.
A tour of Greece provided Forster with material for his early novels. His early novels satirize the pusillanimity of the English tourist abroad.
Maurice was read during Forster's lifetime, despite not being published. It circulated privately amongst friends.
Forster's novels concern themselves with the experience of people and places. Where Angels Fear to Tread was written after Forster visited Italy for the first time.
The titles of many of Forster's works imply travel. They are "likely to have a psychological as well as a geographical significance."
Forster was a famous novelist, celebrated for his social comedies A Room with a View and Howards End. But after A Passage to India was published in 1924, one of the most prominent novelists of his time appeared to cease writing fiction.
Forster was born in 1879 in London, to middle-class Anglo-Irish and Welsh parents. His father died when he was a toddler, leaving him to be brought up by his mother and his paternal great-aunt.