Tag: E M Forster

An unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort

MauriceWhen Maurice reaches a low point in his life he consults the now retired family doctor. Maurice at first tells the doctor he has a problem with women, but after the doctor responds to everything from unwanted pregnancy to impotence, Maurice admits to being “an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort.” The doctor responds, “Rubbish.” How often do you hear science defined by literature?

But the doctor’s response was indicative of the times:

Dr. Barry had given the best advice he could. He had read no scientific works on Maurice’s subject. None had existed when he walked the hospitals, and any published since were in German, and therefore suspect. Adverse to it by temperament, he endorsed the verdict of society gladly; that is to say, his verdict was theological. He held that only the most depraved could glance at Sodom, and so, when a man of good antecedents and physique confessed the tendency, “Rubbish, rubbish!” was his natural reply. He was quite sincere. He believed that Maurice had heard some remark by chance, which had generated morbid thoughts, and that the contemptuous silence of a medical man would at once deplete them.

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