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The Moon and Sixpence

William Somerset Maugham

A broker of the British Stock Exchange, who had a solid career and status and a happy family, was obsessed with painting, like “possessed by the devil”, and suddenly left home to pursue the ideal of painting in Paris. No one can understand his behavior. In a foreign country, he was not only physically suffering from poverty and hunger, but also mentally suffering in order to find ways of expression. After a strange encounter, the hero finally left the civilized world and retreated to the isolated island of Tahiti. He finally found the tranquility of his soul and the atmosphere suitable for his artistic temperament. He cohabited with an indigenous woman and created masterpieces that shocked later generations. Before he contracted leprosy and became blind, he painted a great painting showing the Garden of Eden on the four walls of his house. But before his death, he ordered the aboriginal women to burn the painting after his death. Through such a strange talent who pursues art wholeheartedly and has no understanding of human nature and sophistication, Maugham explored the production and nature of art, the relationship between personality and genius, the contradiction between artists and society, and other thought-provoking issues. At the same time, this book also triggered people’s thinking about the topic of escaping from the secular shackles and seeking spiritual home from the secular society, and the description of the natural folk customs of the South Pacific Island is also attractive.

Editor’s recommendation

British novelist Maugham is a master of storytelling. His novels are witty and humorous, and sometimes show sarcasm to some social phenomena. The plot of “The Moon and Sixpence” is based on the life of Gauguin, a French post-impressionist painter. The protagonist was a securities broker. After reaching middle age, he suddenly responded to the call of his heart, gave up everything and went to Tahiti Island in the South Pacific to live with the aborigines, got inspiration and created many artistic masterpieces. Maugham deeply discusses the contradiction and interaction between life and art in his novels. The Moon and Sixpence was specially included in 25 illustrations drawn by the famous American illustrator Frederick Steele and Gauguin’s own paintings, which are of great collection value.

Author profile

William Somerset Maugham, British novelist and playwright. The representative works include the drama Circle, the novel The shackles of life, the moon and sixpence, and the collection of short stories The quiver of leaves, Ah Jin, etc.

Maugham was born in Paris on January 25, 1874. After graduating from high school, he studied at Heidelberg University in Germany. From 1892 to 1897, he studied medicine in London and obtained the qualification of surgeon. In 1897, he published the first novel “Lisa of Lambeth”. In 1915, he published the novel “The shackles of the world”.

During the First World War, Maugham went to France to participate in the field emergency team, and soon entered the British intelligence service to collect the enemy information in Geneva; Later, he sent an envoy to Russia to dissuade Russia from the war and had contact with the head of the interim government, Krensky.

In 1916, Maugham traveled to the South Pacific and then to the Far East many times. In 1920, he came to China and wrote the travel book “On the Screen of China” (1922), and wrote a novel “Color Scarf” (1925) against the background of China.

Later, I went to Latin America and India. In 1919, the novel Moon and Sixpence came out. Maugham settled on the coast of Dizhong, France, in 1928. During the Second World War, he went to Britain and the United States to publicize the joint anti-German campaign and wrote the novel Blade (1944). In 1930, the novel “Eat and Drink” was published. Cartarina, a novel set in 16th century Spain in 1948

He also published his memoirs and literary criticism.

In 1954, the Queen of England awarded him the title of “Honorary Servant”, and he became a member of the Royal Literature Society. In 1959, Maugham made his last trip to the Far East. He died of illness in France on December 16, 1965.

 

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