"It’s interesting to return to Maurice, and to the lives of Carpenter and Merrill, in the months following the Supreme Court ruling on DOMA. Carpenter’s writing, even coded to elude censorship and prosecution, is bold and romantic. He writes with easy confidence about the love of comrades, echoing his hero Walt Whitman. More important, perhaps, the Carpenter-Merrill partnership is a model that spanned the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and survived the trials of World War One.
"In an unpublished biographical sketch, Carpenter wrote, “[Housekeeping] can only be really well managed when it is treated as an Art. George fortunately had the gift of expression in this direction, and (without knowing it) made his housekeeping, from the first, an artistic pleasure and a satisfaction to himself. He soon picked up the necessary wrinkles with regard to cooking, baking, washing and all the little minutiae of household life; and in a wonderfully short time I found myself living in a state of comfort, both physical and mental, such as the years preceding had neither offered nor suggested.”
"Forster ends Maurice with the promise of similar contentment for his protagonist, though a punishing conclusion might have made publication possible within his lifetime. He wrote, “A happy ending was imperative. I shouldn’t have bothered to write otherwise. I was determined that two men should fall in love and remain in it for the ever and ever that fiction allows.”
Read the full essay and by all means get Sheila Rowbotham's brilliant biography Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love, which was Peter Tatchell's and Jeanette Winterson's favorite book of 2008 and Sarah Schulman's favorite lgbt book of 2009.