For much of his long life – he lived to be over ninety – Maugham was the most famous writer in the world. For nearly forty years in his luxurious villa in the south of
he was filmed, photographed and written about until it seemed there was little
the public were not at liberty to know about this legendary figure. But in a
very true sense he lived much of his life under cover, he was gay when being gay
was against the law. He worked for British Intelligence in both world wars, and
as a writer of fiction he spent much of his day in a private world of the
imagination peopled by characters often more real to him than men and women in
the outside world. He was further distanced by developing a childhood a stammer
(immediately after losing both parents at a young age) that made him
agonisingly self conscious. France
It was interesting to read about the process behind his classic The Moon and Sixpence, the narrator follows the trace of an artist resembling Gauguin and interviews people he knew. That's exactly what Maugham did (in fact, nearly all of his amazing stories are based on his life or events he discovered during his extensive travels). 'I have had a small power of imagination.'
Just like his narrator, Maugham went to
The depiction of the artist's wife caused some distress to Mme Gauguin when she read it.
Reading The Moon and Sixpence it seemed to me the narrator had a disapproving fascination for the (fictional) artist who felt absolutely nothing for the people around him, or even making ends meet to keep body and soul together, as he became obsessed in his need to paint.
story was an attack on the values of society and marriage, believing that
Maugham was celebrating the artist's willingness to escape conformity and
domesticity, which drains the soul of any creativity, to allow his artistic sensibilities
to grow. Hastings declared that
Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?