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'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

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'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by Deadly Nightshade on Wed Mar 27, 2013 9:35 am

After watching the film on TV a few months ago I picked up the book and fell in love with it, I have never been one for a straight forward romance story and this is definitely not that. Story centers on Kitty and Walter Fane, and is set between England and Shanghai in 1925. She marries him on a knee jerk reaction although she doesn't love him, so ends up having an affair with Charles Townsend, needless to say the husband Walter finds out and devises the perfect punishment, forcing her to accompany him into rural China during a Cholera outbreak

The movie is slightly different at the ending to the book but an amazing read Maugham is phenomenal in describing just about everything and although you want to punch the wife from time to time with her lack of control and stupid decisions she makes for a very interesting character. Would absolutely advise anyone to read this it wont disappoint.
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:17 am

WSM was not much of a Lady's Man

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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by Deadly Nightshade on Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:21 am

Well... Not looking like that he certainly wasn't :affraid: Perhaps its was the entire lack of female company that made him such a great writer. Oddly he admits to this in the Preface of the book that his shyness was a key feature of his lack of female companionship.

Have you Read The Painted Veil Oftenwrong?
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:47 am

The Painted Veil was published in 1925, following the success of The Moon and sixpence, and Of Human Bondage.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Somerset_Maugham_bibliography
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by boatlady on Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:45 pm

I had an intense Somerset Maugham phase in my late teens - a very good writer in my view, with a gift for story telling.
My personal favourite was 'The Razors Edge' which foreshadowed a lot of the Hippy guru chasing of the '60's and '70's.
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Apr 30, 2013 11:11 pm

The public taste for authors waxes and wanes like the phases of the Moon. Popularity of the individual is not necessarily linked directly to public enthusiasm for that writer's work. WSM is not now particularly admired, though his work continues to sell.

Is it logical to regard the two separately?
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by boatlady on Wed May 01, 2013 8:24 am

Perhaps he was an individual of his time, and thus a bit flawed by our reckoning; but the story telling gift is more or less timeless, I would argue.

I guess I would want to consider the art separate from the artist.

Having said which, I don't know much about him as a person, and if I find out something really discreditable I might well find my appreciation of his prose to be spoiled.

I don't know if it's logical to regard the two separately, but it's certainly possible.

I now have to go away and find out everything about WSM - damn!
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by Deadly Nightshade on Fri May 03, 2013 9:38 am

Let me know what you find boatlady, have to agree with your point Maugham does have a gift for storytelling and creating such a visual context too.

I absolutely loved the premise for The Painted Veil, he took inspiration from Dante's Inferno * Purgatorio
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by boatlady on Fri May 03, 2013 10:44 am

I looked at a couple of short biographies including the one in Wikipedia, and found out I'd actually read a novellised biography of him (Earthly Powers by Anthony Burgess)
He was a very amoral character, bisexual and very sexually active throughout his life (even when he looked like a lizard in his old age), quite depraved it's said, at least in his later years. But he had a very full life - he trained as a doctor, but never practised, he served in the Secret Service for a while. His villa in the South of France played host to just about everyone, and most people came away appalled by the decandent goings on apparently.
If you have time, you could do worse than reading Earthly Powers - it's a very long book and you'll need your dictionary at times, but I think it probably gives a good sense of what Maugham the person might have been about, and covers most of the main themes of the 20th century on the way.
I can also recommend The Razors Edge, which I read when I was 14 - in fact I may re-read it after all this talking about WSM.
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by oftenwrong on Fri May 03, 2013 11:40 am

One of our best-known authors and poets, not read very much now, was Rudyard Kipling - also a fine teller of stories. He well understood the antics of the British Raj in India, but in the jingoistic fervour attaching to the First World War, any criticism of "Empire" became distinctly unpopular.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling_bibliography

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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by boatlady on Fri May 03, 2013 12:29 pm

Excellent writer - just downloaded the Just So Stories onto my Kindle
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by Deadly Nightshade on Fri May 03, 2013 12:34 pm

Thanks very much boatlady I will be looking on amazon later on today, have been looking for a few new suggestions for books so will take a look at both. After reading TPV I became intrigued but Maugham so having the info for more of his books is always helpful. Very surprised to read he embraced the whole debauched lifestyle, in his preface of TPV he states that he was very shy and didn't have a lot of experience with members of the opposite sex unlike other Writers of the time.

Kipling jungle book was something I used to read to my daughter while she was growing up and introduced her to books
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by boatlady on Fri May 03, 2013 7:22 pm

I have just been on Amazon and found several WSM novels free - now I know how I will be spending the Bank Holiday weekend
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by Deadly Nightshade on Sat May 04, 2013 9:58 pm

boatlady wrote:I have just been on Amazon and found several WSM novels free - now I know how I will be spending the Bank Holiday weekend

Add in a mini pot of Carte D'or ice cream and you have a weekend of sheer indulgence (I highly recommend the Caramel with little pieces of butterscotch) Twisted Evil
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by boatlady on Mon May 06, 2013 9:17 pm

Sadly, on board the Proud Mary, all icecream turns swiftly to mush - did nicely with malted milk biscuits and a nice cuppa tea, though.
Read The Magician (probably Aleister Crowley) and Of Human Bondage (probably autobiograpical) - both in fabulous sunshine.
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Re: 'The Painted Veil' by W. Somerset Maugham

Post by skwalker1964 on Tue May 07, 2013 1:50 am

boatlady wrote:Having said which, I don't know much about him as a person, and if I find out something really discreditable I might well find my appreciation of his prose to be spoiled.

I believe it was WSM who said something along the lines of 'If people could see my innermost thoughts, they would consider me a monster of depravity'.

Which made me rather warm to him.
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