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{Free Reading} The Moon and SixpenceAuthor W. Somerset Maugham – Wildlives.co

Based On The Life Of Paul Gauguin, The Moon And Sixpence Is W Somerset Maugham S Ode To The Powerful Forces Behind Creative GeniusCharles Strickland Is A Staid Banker, A Man Of Wealth And Privilege He Is Also A Man Possessed Of An Unquenchable Desire To Create Art As Strickland Pursues His Artistic Vision, He Leaves London For Paris And Tahiti, And In His Quest Makes Sacrifices That Leaves The Lives Of Those Closest To Him In Tatters Through Maugham S Sympathetic Eye Strickland S Tortured And Cruel Soul Becomes A Symbol Of The Blessing And The Curse Of Transcendent Artistic Genius, And The Cost In Humans Lives It Sometimes Demands


10 thoughts on “The Moon and Sixpence

  1. says:

    Fair warning, this is going to be a long review for this is a book that is close to my heart written by an author whom I deeply admire.The Right TimeThere are some books that walk into your life at an opportune time I m talking about the books that send a pleasant shiver down your spine laden with Man, this is meant to be as you flip through its pages cursorily Or those that upon completion, demand an exclamation from every book reading fibre of your body to the effect of There couldn t have been a better time for me to have read this book Now, I come from deferred gratification stock So books like these, you don t read immediately, You let them sit there on your table for a while You bask in the warm expectant glow of a life altering read You glance at the book as you make your way to office, take pleasure in the fact that it ll be right there on your table when you open the front door wearily, waiting to be opened, caressed, reveled in And when that moment of reckoning arrives, you don t stop, you plunge yourself straight into the book, white hot passionate The Moon and Sixpence was just that kind of a book for me I had just completed and thoroughly enjoyed a course on Modern Art in college and could rattle off the names of Impressionist painters faster than I could the Indian cricket team I was particularly intrigued by Paul Gauguin, a French Post Impressionist painter, after reading one of his disturbingly direct quotes Civilization is what makes me sick , he proclaimed, and huddled off to Tahiti to escape Europe and all that is artificial and conventional , leaving behind a wife and five children to fend for themselves, never to make contact with them again This struck me as the ultimate expression of individuality, a resounding slap to the judgmental face of conservative society, an escapist act of repugnant selfishness that could only be justified by immeasurable artistic talent, genius, some may call it My imagination was tickled beyond measure and when I discovered there was a novel by W.Somerset Maugham the author of The Razor s Edge no less based on Gauguin, my joy knew no bounds I was in the correct frame of mind to read about the life of a stockbroker who gave up on the trivial pleasures of bourgeois life for the penury and hard life of an aspiring painter without considering him ridiculous or vain Supplied with the appropriate proportions of awe that is due to a genius protagonist, I began reading the book I have to admit I expected a whole lot from it I had a voyeuristic curiosity to delve into the head of a certified genius I was even curious to see how Maugham had executed it At the same time, I was hoping that the book would raise and answer important questions concerning the nature of art and about what drives an artist to madness and greatness.The BookThe book s title is taken from a review of Of Human Bondage in which the novel s protagonist, Philip Carey, is described as so busy yearning for the moon that he never saw the sixpence at his feet I admired Maugham s narrative voice In his inimitable style, he flits in and out of the characters life as the stolid, immovable writer who is a mere observer, and nothing His narrator defies Heisenberg s uncertainty principle as in observing his characters, he doesn t change their lives or nature one bit He has a mild disdain for the ordinary life of a householder and relishes his independence I pictured their lives, troubled by no untoward adventure, honest, decent, and, by reason of these two upstanding, pleasant children, so obviously destined to carry on the normal traditions of their race and station, not without significance They would grow old insensibly they would see their son and daughter come to years of reason, marry in due course the one a peretty girl, future mother of healthy children the other a handsome, manly fellow, obviously a soldier and at last, prosperous in their dignified retirement, beloved by their descendants, after a happy, not unuseful life, in the fullness of their age they would sink into the grave That must be the story of innumerable couples, and the patter of life it offers has a homely grace It reminds you of a placid rivulet, meandering smoothly through green pastures and shaded by pleasant trees, till at last it falls into the vasty sea but the sea is so calm, so silent, so indifferent, that you are troubled suddenly by a vague uneasiness Perhaps it is only a kink in my nature, strong in me even in those days, that I felt in such an existence, the share of the great majority, something amiss I recognized its social value I saw its ordered happiness, but a fever in my blood asked for a wilder course There seemed to me something alarming in such easy delights In my heart was a desire to live dangerously I was not unprepared for jagged rocks and treacherous shoals if I could only have change change and the excitement of the unforeseen In Maugham s hands, Gauguin becomes Charles Strickland, an unassuming British stockbroker, with a secret unquenchable lust for beauty that he is willing to take to the end of the world, first to Paris and then to remote Tahiti He is cold, selfish and uncompromising in this quest for beauty The passion that held Strickland was a passion to create beauty It gave him no peace It urged him hither and thither He was eternally a pilgrim, haunted by a divine nostalgia, and the demon within him was ruthless There are men whose desire for truth is so great that to attain it they will shatter the very foundation of their world Of such was Strickland, only beauty with him took the place of truth I could only feel for him a profound compassion However words such as these serve to romanticize Strickland s actions which at first glance, remain despicable view spoiler He leaves his wife as casually as one would leave to buy milk from the store, he betrays his only friend by eloping with his wife and then proceeds to drive her to suicide with his callousness hide spoiler


  2. says:

    W Somerset Maugham s Charles Strickland might not be heading onto my list of the most likeable characters in literature, but one thing is for sure, he is certainly one of the most memorable Strickland, a bourgeois city gent living in London has a dull, soulless exterior that conceals the fact he just may be a genius He devotes himself to himself, and hides within him a passion for painting that no one else seems to knows about He doesn t give a stuff about anybody, including his family, and his wife is left baffled when Charles suddenly travels to Paris and then later on Tahiti with no intentions to ever come back She believes he has run away with another woman, but the truth leaves her totally perplexed, after the narrator of Maugham s novel is sent after him, having only meet Strickland briefly before Derived from the life of Paul Gauguin, our main character is a man insensible to ordinary human relations, who lives the life of pure selfishness which is sometimes supposed to produce great art, which has always had its fascination for novelists inspired only by the unusual Accordingly there have been novels in plenty depicting the conflict of the abominable genius with the uncongenial environment, and Mr Maugham has followed a recognised convention in this story of an imaginary artist of posthumous greatness He treats him throughout with mock respect, and surrounds his affairs with contributory detail Maugham s story takes a respectable man who deserts his wife after seventeen years of marriage to get fully behind a great idea to turn himself into a famous artist, having previously had no experience His break is succeeded by living destitute with a stubborn determination, and by long periods of work and outbursts of savage behaviour Now, here s the thing, does Maugham convince us that Strickland is a real man and a real artist with which we can absorb his traits as part of the essential human creature who lives eternally by his work It seems he does not Where every detail should be pungently real, one is constantly checked in belief by the sense of a calculated and heightened effect, and by the passion of Maugham for his subject Such a passion is sometimes defeated by it s object Here one is repelled, not so much by Strickland s monosyllabic callousness, but by the knowledge that this callousness is seen and represented without subtlety This does eventually change towards the end, but what I liked about Maugham s narrative is he never succumbs to the obvious temptation to seek to explain Strickland s actions to us, we are left in the dark to his motives just like the other characters Another positive is that he uses the minor elements in the story with an extremely effective manner There are deeper themes going on here, if you dig hard enough.The novel is one of a destructive nature, and presents a really terrible philosophy on Modernism which it propounds, but I found it compulsively readable Maugham s writing manages to be both powerful and austere, with not a moment wasted I particularly liked the first person narrative voice, which captured me with a mix of admiration and disdain for Strickland, something that Maugham struck a masterful balance with.


  3. says:

    The Moon and Sixpence, W Somerset MaughamThe Moon and Sixpence is a novel by W Somerset Maugham first published in 1919 It is told in episodic form by a first person narrator, in a series of glimpses into the mind and soul of the central character Charles Strickland, a middle aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist The story is in part based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin 1970 1991 1333 263 1344 263 1362 334 1370 355 1376 1388 9789645960108 1393 284 9786006182216 1336 220


  4. says:

    I may not be able to tell a post impressionist painter from a post hole digger, but if I see a painting by Paul Gauguin I can usually identify it correctly.W Somerset Maugham s 1919 novel about fictional artist Charles Strickland is loosely based on the life of the French painter, but let s be honest, even though this is a novel and something of a caricature, it is the slings and arrows of Gauguin s outrageous life that make this so damn entertaining.That and Maugham s gifted writing and his deft ability to describe human emotion and to add impressionistic detail to complex relationships Maugham s dialogue, always good, is here almost Dickensian in its narrative quality There are several scenes that were hypnotic, drawing the reader into an exchange between two characters Maugham introduces us to Charles Strickland, an English stockbroker who leaves his wife and children to move to Paris to learn to paint and to realize his dream, late in life, of being an artist Told in first person observations about Strickland over the course of many years, we follow Strickland s roguish adventures to Tahiti where his mastery is recognized.But Maugham describes a complicatedly simple man who just wants to live in his work Undesiring of money or fame, he simply wants to create and to express his artistic vision His philosophy, appearing on the surface to be hedonistic and misanthropic, is than an esoteric isolation from society but is an all encompassing, passionate devotion to his work.This is not a biography of Gauguin, but of an examination of the spirit of his life, similar to how the Post Impressionists extended Impressionism while rejecting its limitations, using symbolism and abstraction to depict its subject.For Maugham readers, art lovers and the rest of us a good book.


  5. says:

    Art is a manifestation of emotion, and emotion speaks a language that all may understand W Somerset Maugham, The Moon and SixpenceI d only ever read one Maugham before this Of Human Bondage but even with just that one read I could tell Maugham was a very special writer and destined to be one of my favourites I picked up this thin book thinking it would be a quick, simple read, but I wasn t prepared for the depth and profundity in it There is a lot going on in this little book, lots to think about.Reading the back of the book you ll know that the main character in this book, Charles Strickland, was modelled after Paul Gauguin There s no way I would have guessed that for most of the book, until Strickland Gauguin moved to Tahiti.Even without knowing much about Gauguin s life, this book was interesting as it took us on a tour of his life, done by a narrator who operates as an unofficial biographer, taking us through Strickland Gauguin s life from England to Paris, and finally Tahiti.Strickland is an awful person and extremely misogynistic It s been a while since I ve read such an odious character in literature I despised him He was a man without any conception of gratitude He had no compassion The emotions common to most of us simply did not exist in him, and it was as absurd to blame him for not feeling them as for blaming the tiger because he is fierce and cruel It was surprising to witness how the passion in Strickland seemed to remain dormant for years but eventually caused him to act like a man possessed and completely re evaluate his life as that passion needed an outlet That must be the story of innumerable couples, and the pattern of life it offers has a homely grace It reminds you of a placid rivulet, meandering smoothly through green pastures and shaded by pleasant trees, till at last it falls into the vasty sea but the sea is so calm, so silent, so indifferent, that you are troubled suddenly by a vague uneasiness Perhaps it is only by a kink in my nature, strong in me even in those days, that I felt in such an existence, the share of the great majority, something amiss I recognised its social values, I saw its ordered happiness, but a fever in my blood asked for a wilder course There seemed to me something alarming in such easy delights In my heart was a desire to live dangerously I was not unprepared for jagged rocks and treacherous shoals if I could only have change change and the excitement of the unforeseen Gauguin comes up a lot in discussions on primitivism and orientalism, and reading up on his time in Tahiti really leaves a bitter taste in my mouth The discussion on place and how we might be searching for a place where we are free to be really spoke to me, but Gauguin being himself meant taking child brides in the tropics, and that reminded me of the fact that Europeans had have free reign in some parts of the world all due to their perceived power But still, the idea that we can be perceived differently in different areas, and therefore be suited to one area than another, is interesting I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves Perhaps some deep rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels that he belongs Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid scenes that he has never seen before, among men he has never known, as though they were familiar to him from his birth Here at last he finds rest It s hard to summarize this book without bringing up the racist language There were quite a few racial epithets which, I m not sure spoke of Maugham s insensitivity to different races, or just that he was reflecting the language and sentiments of the time Either way, they were shocking, and I could have done without them.


  6. says:

    Unfortunately, Somerset Maugham is a forgotten writer.The Moon and Sixpence I loved this novel very distantly inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin First of all, also well handled plot, somewhat dated style is well suited to the period of history the beginning of the 20th century The dialogues are tasty and suitable for well encamped characters Whether the particularly heinous while the endearing main character or others who lack either flavor.I ll pick up my courage in both hands and continue looking for other works of this great writer.


  7. says:

    Beauty is something wonderful and strange that the artist fashions out of the chaos of the world in the torment of his soul And when he has made it, it is not given to all to know it To recognize it you must repeat the adventure of the artist It is a melody that he sings to you, and to hear it again in your own heart you want knowledge and sensitiveness and imagination Beauty is in the eye of the beholder In addition to plenty of witty bon mots, Maugham dropped several lengthy quotes on the nature of beauty and how relative it is, especially through the eyes of the artist Maugham s protagonist, Charles Strickland grows indifferent to pretty much everything in his life wife, children, luxury, polite society and focuses his passions like a laser on the creation of a vision that s perceptible to pretty much only him Few others see it, but Strickland doesn t care he s too focused on the creative process to pay anyone any mind He s kind of a brute, who can only articulate his inner perception on the canvas.Strickland s a complete ass, losing pretty much all sense of propriety, not caring whether he s mortally offended anyone who s willing to lend him a hand, biting that hand with a furious chomp leaving broken lives in his wake The further he runs from society to Tahiti a magical place and it s distractions, the closer he comes to being able to extract his conception of pure beauty from the dark recesses of his mind.I ve known people like Strickland talented, brilliant, corrosive people who have that weird light surrounding themselves Friends and family that have been taken advantage of, cheated, hurt, yet still can t shake being in the presence of this person it s like having one foot in a tornado The narrator, a writer, who s been offended by Strickland on numerous occasions still comes around for the proverbial bitch slap Strickland doesn t achieve success and recognition until after he s dead, his family willing to whitewash his transgressions, something that probably wouldn t surprise or bother him.The only other Maugham I ve ever read is The Razor s Edge, that one was a passable read with the same format first person narrative observer, main character in search of some sort of truth , but this book has a kinetic energy and spirit You might loathe Strickland and want to throat punch him, but you still have a deep unspoken understanding of his motivations, that although you don t fully condone, you still respect his vision Buddy Read with the artsy, occult branch of the Pantsless Legion of Indecency Ginger, Kristin, and Stepheny.


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  9. says:

    We want the world We want it all We want the moon And still it s not enough.It s my long term goal to read everything Maguham wrote, a goal that I doubt will be very difficult to reach He writes with such poignant observation and wit and in The Moon and Sixpence he captures the all encompassing, obsessive and brutal nature that perhaps it takes to be an artist.Told by an unnamed narrator, we are introduced to Charles Strickland, a beastly yet seemingly ordinary man who one day leaves his wife, his children, his job and his entire life to paint The drive to create is all there is in him, and leaving a trail of destruction he goes to Paris don t they all and then to Tahiti He is displaced, disassociated and curiously unappealing It is a wonderful and extreme portrait of the innate need some have to follow their calling, or better still, the lack of choice they have to do so I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not They are strangers in their birthplace,and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they played, remain but a place of passage They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that send men far and wide in search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves p.135


  10. says:

    The Moon and Sixpence, W Somerset Maugham The Moon and Sixpence is a novel by W Somerset Maugham first published in 1919 It is told in episodic form by a first person narrator, in a series of glimpses into the mind and soul of the central character Charles Strickland, a middle aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist The story is in part based on the life of the painter Paul Gauguin 1970 1991 1333 263 1344 263 1362 334 1370 355 1376 1388 9789645960108 1393 284 9786006182216 1336 220