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The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
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The Moon and Sixpence (1919)

by W. Somerset Maugham

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,609463,309 (3.92)184
  1. 10
    A Vagabond Journey around the World by Harry Alverson Franck (Waldstein)
    Waldstein: Chapter 5 - "A Beachcomber in Marseilles" - contains the material on which WSM based Strickland's adventures in chapter 47 of The Moon and Sixpence. See also the 1935 preface to the novel in The Collected Edition where WSM, having been accused of plagiarizing Mr Franck's work, admitted his debt and argued that "books of facts are a legitimate quarry for the imaginative writer". Mr Franck's book is available online.… (more)
  2. 05
    The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (edwinbcn)
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» See also 184 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Excerpts from my original GR review (Sep 2011):
- ..What I did particularly like was that the narrative moves briskly, energized by the story's movement from London to Paris and then all about once there, as our narrator keeps up with Strickland. It drags, for me, during the more tedious ramblings in Tahiti. I also like the sub-story of Dirk and Blanche Stroeve, their lives perhaps menaced by the intrusion of Strickland. Here's an instance, I think, where the writer's skill outshines the story. Strickland's eccentricities and abrupt removal from his former life only held traction for a few chapters. Credit to Maugham for keeping me reading beyond this point.
- I had to smirk at the mention of absinthe a few times - the drink du jour of the period, at least in Paris. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Sep 7, 2018 |
It must be said up front that I am a huge fan of Maugham. I like his writing style, which always makes me feel as if I am sitting with a friend and he is telling me about someone he actually knows. With this conversational tone, Maugham leads you into the depths of the human soul and sometimes leaves you to find your own way out.

Based very loosely on the life of Paul Gauguin, this novel is a study in how much a true artist will do for the sake of his art: not only how much he will endure, but how much he will inflict upon others. You cannot like Maugham's character, Strickland, nor, I think, can you truly understand him. Even our narrator never manages to understand the man, and he has been observing him for a lifetime. I can't help wondering how much Maugham felt that he was, himself, a man who had to follow his art at any cost. Of course, for Strickland and anyone who happens to come too close to him, the costs are extreme.

One of the important questions Maugham raises in this novel is what makes up success and who gets to decide if you are successful. Is it truly about how much you acquire outwardly or how much you acquire inwardly?

"I wondered if Abraham really had made a hash of life. Is to do what you want, to live under the conditions that please you, in peace with yourself, to make a hash of life; and is it success to be an eminent surgeon with ten thousand a year and a beautiful wife? I suppose it depends on what meaning you attach to life, the claim which you acknowledge to society, and the claim of the individual."

I think Maugham thought that we too often attach the wrong meaning to life, that we strive too often for what others tell us should be our want instead of the things that our soul cries out for in the night. None of us wishes to be Strickland. Hell, we don't even want to know Strickland, but each of us is faced with his same choice--cut our own path or follow the dictates of society--and too often we make the wrong decision. ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Incredibly stale.
The truly repulsive figure in this book is the narrator.
And he uses the word "bedraggled" four times throughout the book. I did not like it the first time. ( )
  alik-fuchs | Apr 27, 2018 |
This book got a lot more enjoyable when I realized reading on my kindle meant I could highlight parts and write notes such as "asshole!" and "more misogyny" and "OH MY GOD." Maybe this is supposed to be an exploration of genius vs living in society but the uncritical misogyny is just so BORING. Blahdy blahdy blah. ( )
  g33kgrrl | Aug 21, 2017 |
Charles Strickland, whose character is based loosely on the French Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin, is a stock broker living in London. In middle age he abandons his wife and children and moves to Paris to learn to paint. Having found his true passion in life, he feels no remorse for leaving his family and living the life of a starving artist. Strickland is not a like-able character. In Paris he steals the wife of a friend only to abandon her when he has finished using her as a model. He is self-centered and completely driven by his art. Eventually he makes his way to the South Seas. In Tahiti he finds an island woman to live with and paints until his death. The story is narrated by a young man who initially seeks out Strickland so he can report back to his wife. Time passes, Strickland dies and the narrator journeys to Tahiti to learn more about the life of this now famous painter. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Apr 9, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (41 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
W. Somerset Maughamprimary authorall editionscalculated
Åhlin, PerCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feigl, SusanneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kelk, C.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Monicelli, GiorgioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandler, PaulineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wiel, Frans van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0486446026, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:21 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

This novel follows the life of Paul Gauguin, famous French post-impressionist painter, but it is not a novelized biography of Gauguin. Rather it is a sharply delineated, carefully wrought ?private life,? written by a literary master.A fictional novel heavily influenced by the life of French painter Paul Gauguin is told first-person, dipping episodically into the mind of the artist. Charles Strickland is an English stock broker, who leaves everything behind him in his middle age to live in defiant squalor in Paris as an artist. His genius is eventually recognized by a Dutch painter.… (more)

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