So he was queer, E.M. Forster. It wasn't his middle name (that would be 'Morgan'), but it was his orientation, his romping pleasure, his half-secret, his romantic passion. In the long-suppressed novel Maurice the title character blurts out his truth, 'I'm an unspeakable of the Oscar Wilde sort.' It must have felt that way when Forster came of sexual age in the last years of the 19th century: seriously risky and dangerously blurt-able. The public cry had caught Wilde, exposed and arrested him, broken him in prison. He was one face of anxiety to Forster; his mother was another. As long as she lived (and they lived together until she died, when he was 66), he couldn't let her know.
Gostaria que alguém tentasse escrever um dia uma história trágica da literatura, na qual expusesse como as diferentes nações, cada uma das quais deposita seu maior orgulho nos grandes escritores e artistas que tem a exibir, trataram esses homens durante suas vidas. Assim, o autor poria diante dos nossos olhos aquela interminável batalha travada pelo que é bom e autentico, em todos os tempos e países, contra o domínio do que é deturpado e ruim; descreveria o martírio de quase todos os verdadeiros iluminados da humanidade, de quase todos os grandes mestres em cada disciplina e em cada arte; mostraria como eles, com poucas exceções, sofreram na pobreza e na miséria, sem reconhecimento, sem apreço, sem alunos, enquanto a fama, a honra e a riqueza eram reservadas aos indignos em cada área.
By the nineteenth century, society had given up burning witches. Yet the sexual exploitation of children continued. In late-nineteenth-century Britain, for example, men who raped young girls were excused because they did it to cure venereal disease. There was a widely held belief that children would take "poisons" out of the body. In fact, leprosy, venereal disease, depression, and impotence were part of a wide range of maladies believed cured by having sex with the young. An English medical text of the time reads, "Breaking a maiden's seal is one of the best antidotes for one's ills. Cudgeling her unceasingly, until she swoons away, is a mighty remedy for man's depression. It cures all impotence.
Above all, he encourages her to paint, nodding with approval at even her most unusual experiments with color, light, rough brushwork [...]. She explains to him that she believes painting should reflect nature and life [...]. He nods, although he adds cautiously that he wouldn't want her to know too much about life - nature is a fine subject, but life is grimmer than she can understand. He thinks it is good for her to have something satisfying to do at home; he loves art himself; he sees her gift and wants her to be happy. He knows the charming Morisots. He has met the Manets, and always remarks that they are a good family, despite Édouard's reputation and his immoral experiments (he paints loose women), which make him perhaps too modern - a shame, given his obvious talent.In fact, Yves takes her to many galleries. They attend the Salon every year, with nearly a million other people, and listen to the gossip about favorite canvases and those critics disdain. Occasionally they stroll in the museums in the Louvre, where she sees art students copying paintings and sculpture, even an unchaperoned woman here and there (surely Americans). She can't quite bring herself to admire nudes in his presence, certainly not the heroic males; she knows she will never paint from a nude model herself. Her own formal training was in the private studios of an academican, copying from plaster casts with her mother present, before she married.
Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings.I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.
I look in the glass sometimes at my two long, cylindrical bags (so picturesquely rugged about the knees), my stand-up collar and billycock hat, and wonder what right I have to go about making God's world hideous. Then wild and wicked thoughts come into my heart. I don't want to be good and respectable. (I never can be sensible, I'm told; so that don't matter.) I want to put on lavender-colored tights, with red velvet breeches and a green doublet slashed with yellow; to have a light-blue silk cloak on my shoulder, and a black eagle's plume waving from my hat, and a big sword, and a falcon, and a lance, and a prancing horse, so that I might go about and gladden the eyes of the people. Why should we all try to look like ants crawling over a dust-heap? Why shouldn't we dress a little gayly? I am sure if we did we should be happier. True, it is a little thing, but we are a little race, and what is the use of our pretending otherwise and spoiling fun? Let philosophers get themselves up like old crows if they like. But let me be a butterfly.