East of Suez: A Play in Seven Scenes

Overview

It was written in 1922 and was first produced on the stage in September of that year, with Basil Rathbone playing the part of George Conway. The play-ran for 209 performances. As a spectacle it succeeded; the opening scene, with its coolies and water carriers and rickshaws and a Mongolian camel caravan, was effective. But as a play, it failed. Daisy, a half-Chinese woman with a past, is engaged to marry one Englishman but is in love with another. Maugham added to the convention of the woman with a past the ...
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East of Suez, a Play in Seven Scenes

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Overview

It was written in 1922 and was first produced on the stage in September of that year, with Basil Rathbone playing the part of George Conway. The play-ran for 209 performances. As a spectacle it succeeded; the opening scene, with its coolies and water carriers and rickshaws and a Mongolian camel caravan, was effective. But as a play, it failed. Daisy, a half-Chinese woman with a past, is engaged to marry one Englishman but is in love with another. Maugham added to the convention of the woman with a past the convention that marriage with a half-caste is doomed. After embroidering on this theme for seven scenes he ended the play by having the English lover kill himself, and the English husband realizes that he has made a mistake to marry a Chinese.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781482547443
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 2/14/2013
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

William Somerset Maugham was born on 25 December 1874 at the British Embassy in Paris, France, the fourth son (of seven children total, but only four that survived infancy) born to socialite and writer Edith Mary née Snell (1840-1882) and Robert Ormond Maugham (1823-1884), a lawyer for the British Embassy. William suffered from a stutter and his lack of proficiency in English and loss of his parents could not have helped matters when he was taunted and bullied by classmates.

Maugham attended King's School in Canterbury before travelling to Germany at the age of sixteen to study literature and philosophy at Heidelberg University. It was here that he had his first homosexual relationship with John Ellingham Brooks (1863-1929). Back in England, and after a short stint as accountant, he studied medicine at St Thomas's Hospital in London. Never having difficulty with his studies, he qualified as Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, London in 1897 although he never practiced. He was on to his next profession; that same year his first novel Liza of Lambeth was published. As a medical student Maugham had seen first-hand the poor and suffering of the shabby working classes in London's Lambeth slum area while apprenticing as midwife. The experience would serve him well in writing vivid physical descriptions of his fictional characters, and in realistic portrayals of the seedier aspects of life and its consequences on the human psyche. Liza Kemp, like Emile Zola's Nana, Stephen Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets and George Gissings' New Grub Street, belongs to that genre of fiction examining the less-than pristine Victorian slum-life of adultery, sickness, and desperate searches for meaningful love. Although Liza achieved mild success at the time, especially because of the controversy its subject matter stirred, Maugham decided to turn full-time to writing. He was off for a year to Spain, spending most of his time in Seville, but by his own words "I amused myself hugely and wrote a bad novel."--from "A Fragment of Autobiography", The Magician (1908). The Land of The Blessed Virgin; Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia was published in 1905. Other works published around this time include The Hero (1901), Mrs. Craddock (1902), The Merry-Go-Round (1904), The Explorer (1907), Moon and Sixpence (1919), The Trembling of a Leaf (1921), and The Painted Veil (1925).

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