The Moon and Sixpence

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Overview

It seems unthinkable that Charles Strickland, the dull, bourgeois city gent, would have the tortured soul of a genius. Yet Strickland is driven to abandon his home, wife, and children to devote himself slavishly to painting. In a tiny studio in Paris he fills canvas after canvas, refusing to sell or even exhibit his work. Beset by poverty, sickness, and his own intransigent nature, he drifts to Tahiti, where, even after being blinded by leprosy, he produces some of his most extraordinary works of art. First ...
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Moon and Sixpence (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading)

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Overview

It seems unthinkable that Charles Strickland, the dull, bourgeois city gent, would have the tortured soul of a genius. Yet Strickland is driven to abandon his home, wife, and children to devote himself slavishly to painting. In a tiny studio in Paris he fills canvas after canvas, refusing to sell or even exhibit his work. Beset by poverty, sickness, and his own intransigent nature, he drifts to Tahiti, where, even after being blinded by leprosy, he produces some of his most extraordinary works of art. First published in 1919 and inspired by the life of Paul Gauguin, The Moon and Sixpence is a study of a man possessed by the need to create - regardless of the cost to himself or others.

On a trip to research French artist Paul Gauguin, Maugham sailed into Tahiti's Papeet harbor, where he imagined an exotic tale of the ultimate outsider, one who rejects his entire way of life to pursue an obsession. The result of his efforts is a story of rebellion and escape from civilization which continues to attract and captivate readers to this day. Introduction by Perry Meisel.

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Editorial Reviews

Cyril Connolly
His excessively rare gift of storytelling...is almost an equal of imagination itself. -- The Sunday Times
Maxwell Anderson
When one closes the book and looks back over the varied scenes, civilized and barbaric, one has a memory of powerful and inevitable movement and the light and shadow of life itself.
—Maxwell Anderson, in Dial
From the Publisher
"[A] witty, compelling roman à clef...that mock[s] the way the world makes saints of the sinners who are often its best artists."  -The Boston Globe

"It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham.... He was always so entirely there."  -Gore Vidal

From Barnes & Noble
Based on the life of Paul Gauguin, this book examines how each of us pursues our dreams. Maugham, one of the most popular English writer of our century, looks at the choices we make and forsake, as well as the consequences to those around us
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781406592511
  • Publisher: Dodo Press
  • Publication date: 1/25/2008
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was an English novelist and playwright. Maugham was famous as a dramatist before he was known for his novels and short stories. His clarity of style, the perfection of his form, and the subtlety of his thought, thinly veiled by a worldly cynicism made him an international figure. Among his novels are Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, and The Razor’s Edge.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(4)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The extraordinary clothed in mediocrity

    The need for artistic expression takes a man out of a life of mediocrity, and transports him half way across the world, to a life of poverty which allows him to access the true richness of expression which he seeks. To seek one's destiny in a life of adventure, or to find comfort in a life of convention -- that is the tension between this work, and the author's masterwork "Of Human Bondage." Each reaching its own conclusion, while exploring the dialectic of the spiritual and the temporal, searching deep into man's soul, seeking refuge from the banality of life. A fine read, enchanting and remarkable for its language and its breadth of scope. A highly recommended selection.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 9, 2001

    One of my Favorite Books of all Times.

    From England to France to Tahiti, this tale of art,human nature and passion is incredible. I read this book thrice and still pick it up to reread some favorite sections. Maugham is one of my favorite authors. He is the best short story writer have ever read. I highly recommend his short stories and novels especially The Razors Edge and Cake and Ale.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Book That Makes You Think

    The Moon and Sixpence by William Somerset Maugham is a novel loosely based on the life of painter, Paul Gauguin. This novel is one of the most interesting books I have ever read because the eccentric set of people the story revolves around. Maugham's analysis of his characters makes them come to life, and they were so vivid I was not able to put the book down.

    Maugham was an English playwright and author, his works include: The Razor's Edge, Of Human Bondage, The Painted Vail, Cakes and Ale, and many more. The Moon and Sixpence came to Maugham when he traveled to Tahiti to study the French artist Paul Gauguin, and imagined the story of the painter's life from a different perspective.

    The leading character, Charles Strickland, abandons his job as a stockbroker, his family of four, and his entire life in England unannounced to pursue painting in France. In this transitional move to France he becomes indifferent to people and their emotions. Some could consider him cruel while others find his honesty refreshing, but either way he shows no affection to those who enter his life or those who leave it. The book follows Strickland and his work from France to Tahiti, where the story ends. Strickland's unwillingness to compromise for his pursuit of art is unbelievable.

    The character descriptions were the best part of the book for me. Maugham did a wonderful job making his characters come to life, and play with the reader's emotions. Strickland could easily be viewed as the villain in this novel because of his attitude, but is to be respected for is ingenuity. In some aspects his persistence for truth and independence could be seen as heroism and genius. Maugham challenges audiences to decide for themselves what they believe is "right" or "correct" in the story, and because of this readers must take an active role in the book.

    Although I enjoyed this book, it isn't an easy read. Because the reader must constantly analyze the story, the book can be a chore, and there is no moment of relaxation. Also, the plot is interesting but moves slowly. The book is largely dependent on the description of the characters, as opposed to the story line. If you are looking for an action packed book, this may not be the one for you. Maugham could have spent a little more time illustrating the chain of events; the book could read a little easier.

    The Moon in Sixpence, overall, was well worth the read. It leaves the reader with questions of what is morality and has the capability to change one's perspective completely. I would suggest it to anyone who is an art lover, as you will see many relations and references to the art world and Gauguin's life. I would also suggest this book to F. Scott Fitzgerald fans, because the styles and focus of Fitzgerald novels are very similar to that of Maugham.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2007

    A reviewer

    im reading 'The moon and sixpence' because we are given this story for home reading & i think that there is something very deep and philosophical in this story.its not a simple life story of a man who desperately wants to paint its a kind of human tragedy.im waiting for the end of this story with great excitement:'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    Hdv

    Bbd

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Oops - Good scan

    Apologies. This scan was OK. Was referring to another version of the same title which was from a NY library and scanned by Google. This version seems to be fine...crisp and clean.

    One of my favorite books. The story of a truly self actualized human being.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Bad Scan

    This book was scanned by Google but not proofed. Wrong or incomplete words all over.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    Shinohara Ayumi

    Went to result of one for "Japan". Please help!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    Sissy

    I don't understand,maybe a reader of the book can explain it to me, why this book is dvertised as "...gay and lesbian relationships..." when I can see nothing to indicate this. It has either been mislabled or I'm hust not getting it. I do like the story and all of Maugham's works. He was genius at his craft

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 28, 2008

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    Posted June 13, 2009

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    Posted March 23, 2009

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    Posted February 9, 2009

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