Gay Sex Halted E.M. Forster's Career

BY Julie Bolcer

June 06 2010 11:05 AM ET

Newly revealed papers from E.M. Forster, including his sex diary, reveal that his first encounter with a man, at age 38, and the way it compounded his lifelong struggle with homosexuality killed his creative drive. The celebrated British author did not write any novels between 1924 and the time of his death in 1970.

Scholars have long speculated about the reason for Forster’s low productivity after a string that included A Room With a View, Howard’s End, Where Angels Fear to Tread, and A Passage to India.

According to the The Sunday Times, “Now Forster’s papers, including his ‘sex diary,’ which had been locked away at his former lodgings at Cambridge University, indicate his creative drive was curbed after he lost his virginity to a wounded soldier on an Egyptian beach when he was 38 and met his long-term lover — a married policeman — several years later.”

Forster struggled to reconcile the heterosexual English middle-class themes of his famous works with the reality of his affairs with working-class men. The papers articulate his predicament.

According to the Times, “A poignant entry states: ‘Now I am 85 how annoyed I am with society for wasting my time by making homosexuality criminal. The subterfuges and the self-consciousnesses that might have been avoided.’”







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