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The American Isherwood$
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James J. Berg and Chris Freeman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780816683611

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816683611.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MINNESOTA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.minnesota.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MNSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Not Satisfied with the Ending

Not Satisfied with the Ending

Connecting The World in the Evening to Maurice

(p.273) 19 Not Satisfied with the Ending
The American Isherwood

Joshua Adair

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter examines E. M. Forster’s posthumously published gay fiction Maurice in the context of Christopher Isherwood’s 1954 novel The World in the Evening, with particular emphasis on commonalities between the two works. Few books have been so poorly received by friends and critics alike as The World in the Evening. Remarkable for its stylistic and thematic departures from his earlier works, the work was almost unanimously dismissed as a failure and continues to be marginalized by critics and readers. This chapter reconceptualizes the novel to appreciate its value in terms of innovation and for its significant connection to Maurice. Drawing upon Fredric Jameson’s ideas, particularly his assertion that we perpetually read through the lens of prior texts and experiences, it argues that The World in the Evening must be read as a unique narrative exploring the possibility of forming spaces within society amenable to gay men. Based on this approach, The World in the Evening can be situated as a “socially symbolic act”.

Keywords:   novel, E. M. Forster, Maurice, Christopher Isherwood, The World in the Evening, Fredric Jameson, gay men

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