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The Moon and Sixpenceby W. Somerset Maugham
Synopses & Reviews
I confess that when first I made acquaintance with Charles Strickland I never for a moment discerned that there was in him anything out of the ordinary. Yet now few will be found to deny his greatness. I do not speak of that greatness which is achieved by the fortunate politician or the successful soldier; that is a quality which belongs to the place he occupies rather than to the man; and a change of circumstances reduces it to very discreet proportions. The Prime Minister out of office is seen, too often, to have been but a pompous rhetorician, and the General without an army is but the tame hero of a market town. The greatness of Charles Strickland was authentic. It may be that you do not like his art, but at all events you can hardly refuse it the tribute of your interest. He disturbs and arrests. The time has passed when he was an object of ridicule, and it is no longer a mark of eccentricity to defend or of perversity to extol him. His faults are accepted as the necessary complement to his merits. It is still possible to discuss his place in art, and the adulation of his admirers is perhaps no less capricious than the disparagement of his detractors; but one thing can never be doubtful, and that is that he had genius. . . .
"Witty, compelling." and#151; The Boston Globe. Gripped by an overwhelming obsession, Charles Strickland, a conventional London stockbroker, decides in midlife to desert his wife, family, business, and civilization for his art. One of Maugham's most popular works, The Moon and Sixpence is a riveting story about an uncompromising and self-destructive man who forsakes wealth and comfort to pursue the life of a painter. Drifting from Paris to Marseilles, Strickland eventually settles in Tahiti, takes a mistress, and in spite of poverty and a long, terminal illness, produces his most passionate and mysterious works of art.
Loosely based on the life of Paul Gauguin, Maugham's timeless masterpiece is storytelling at its best and#151; an insightful work focusing on artistic fixation that propels the artist beyond the commonplace into the selfish realm of genius.
An uncompromising and self-destructive young man deserts his wife, family, business, and civilization for his art. Shedding harsh light on an artist's ego, Maugham reveals the lengths to which one man will go to focus on his art. Written in 1919, this unforgettable story is timeless in its appeal.
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