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Федеральное государственное бюджетное образовательное учреждение высшего профессионального образования «Московский Педагогический Государственный Университет» Творческая работа Выполнила студентка заочного отделения, факультета иностранных языков, 5-го курса, гр. 504, Говорова Елизавета Сергеевна Преподаватель филологического факультета кафедры современной литературы, доцент к.ф.н. Соломатина Наталья Валерьевна Москва, 2016г.
William Somerset Maugham 1874 1965
William Somerset Maugham was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular writers of his era and remains the writer with the most film and TV adaptations of his work – some 98 in all.
William Somerset Maugham was born on the 25th of January, 1874.. By the age of ten he lost both of his parents. This trauma initiated the famous stammer and an unhappy childhood – he was brought up by a paternal uncle, who proved to be cold and emotionally cruel. His miserable schooldays ensured that he was both shy and withdrawn. Maugham's father, Robert Ormond Maugham, was a lawyer who handled the legal affairs of the British embassy in Paris. Maugham's grandfather, another Robert, had also been a prominent lawyer and co-founder of the English Law Society. It was taken for granted that Maugham and his brothers would follow their footsteps. Not wanting to become a lawyer like other men in his family, Maugham eventually trained and qualified as a doctor.
While training to be a doctor Maugham worked as an obstetric clerk in the slums of Lambeth. He used these experiences to help him write his first novel, “Liza of Lambeth” (1897), which sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine and embarked his 65-year career as a man of letters. He later said, "I took to it as a duck takes to water.". By 1908, he had four plays running simultaneously in London. Consequently he became an observer rather than an active participant, but he was able to turn this to his advantage as a writer. The unhappiness and anxiety of his early life were recounted in his autobiographical novel, “Of Human Bondage” (1915).
During the World War I Maugham was introduced to a high-ranking intelligence officer. In September 1915, Maugham began work in Switzerland, as one of the network of British agents who operated against the Berlin Committee. Quiet and observant, Maugham had a good temperament for intelligence work; he believed he had inherited from his lawyer father a gift for cool judgment and the ability to be undeceived by facile appearance.
Later Maugham used his spying experiences as the basis for “Ashenden: Or the British Agent”, a collection of short stories about a gentlemanly sophisticated, aloof spy. This character is considered to have influenced Ian Fleming's later series of James Bond novels. Other writers acknowledged his work. Anthony Burgess, who included a complex fictional portrait of Maugham in the novel “Earthly Powers”, praised his influence. George Orwell said that Maugham was "the modern writer who has influenced me the most.“ In 1954, he was made a Companion of Honor.
Despite his triumphs, Maugham never attracted the highest respect from the critics or his peers. He attributed this to his lack of "lyrical quality", his small vocabulary, and failure to make expert use of metaphor in his work. Maugham wrote at the time when experimental modernist literature such as that of William Faulkner, Thomas Mann, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf was gaining increasing popularity and winning critical acclaim. In this context, his plain prose style was criticized as "such a tissue of clichés that one's wonder is finally aroused at the writer's ability to assemble so many and at his unfailing inability to put anything in an individual way".
In 1947 Maugham instituted the Somerset Maugham Award, awarded to the best British writer or writers under the age of thirty-five for a work of fiction published in the past year. During World War II, Maugham lived in the United States and became a popular figure in Hollywood. Many of his stories and plays have been—and continue to be—made into motion pictures. "Rain" was filmed three times. Film adaptations of his works include “The Magician” (1926), “The Razor's Edge” (1984), “Up at the Villa” (2000) and “The Painted Veil” (2006).
Maugham had begun collecting theatrical paintings before the First World War; he continued to the point where his collection was second in the quantity of the pieces. In 1948 he announced that he would bequeath this collection to the Trustees of the National Theatre. From 1951, some 14 years before his death, his paintings began their exhibition life. In 1994 they were placed on loan to the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Maugham died in 1965 at the age of 91. On his death, Maugham donated his copyrights to the Royal Literary Fund. Today the Maugham persona of the social dramatist, the story teller and the sophisticated world traveler, is the legacy of the world culture.
The Magician The Magician is a novel by British author W. Somerset Maugham, originally published in 1908. It is one of his most complex and perceptive novels. Running through it is the theme of evil, deftly woven into a story as memorable for its action as for its astonishingly vivid characters. In fin de siècle Paris, Arthur and Margaret are engaged to be married. Everyone approves and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves—until the sinister and repulsive Oliver Haddo appears.
Plot Arthur Burdon, a renowned English surgeon, is visiting Paris to see his fiancée, Margaret Dauncey. Margaret is studying art in Parisian school, along with her friend Susie Boyd. On his first evening in Paris, Burdon meets Oliver Haddo, who claims to be a magician and is an acquaintance of Burdon's mentor, the retired doctor and occult scholar Dr. Porhoët. While none of the company initially believe Haddo's claims, Haddo performs several feats of magic for them over the following days. Arthur eventually fights with Haddo, after the magician kicks Margaret's dog. In revenge, Haddo uses both his personality and his magic to seduce Margaret, despite her initial revulsion towards him. They get married and run away from Paris, leaving merely a note to inform Arthur, Susie and Porhoët. Arthur is distraught at the abandonment and promptly returns to England to immerse himself in his work. By this time Susie has fallen in love with Arthur, although she realises that this love will never be returned, and she goes away to Italy with a friend.
During her travels, Susie hears much about the new Mr. and Mrs. Haddo, including a rumour that their marriage has not been consummated. When she eventually returns to England, she meets up with Arthur and they go to a dinner party held by a mutual acquaintance. To their horror, the Haddos are at this dinner party, and Oliver takes great delight in gloating at Arthur's distress. The next day, Arthur goes to the hotel at which Margaret is staying, and whisks her away to a house in the country. Although she files for divorce from Haddo, his influence on her proves too strong, and she ends up returning to him. Feeling that this influence must be supernatural, Susie returns to France to consult with Dr Porhoët on a possible solution. Several weeks later, Arthur joins them in Paris and reveals that he visited Margaret at Haddo's home and that she suggested her life was threatened by her new husband. She implies that Haddo is only waiting for the right time to perform a magical ritual, which will involve the sacrifice of her life. Arthur travels to Paris to ask for Dr Porhoët's advice. A week later, Arthur has an overwhelming feeling that Margaret's life is in danger, and all three rush back to England.
When they arrive at Skene, Haddo's ancestral home in the village of Venning, they are told by the local innkeeper that Margaret has died of a heart attack. Believing that Haddo has murdered her, Arthur confronts first the local doctor and then Haddo himself with his suspicions. Searching for proof of foul play, Arthur persuades Dr Porhoët to raise Margaret's ghost from the dead, which proves to them that she was murdered. Eventually, Haddo uses his magic to appear in their room at the local inn, where Arthur kills him. However, when the light is turned on Haddo's body has disappeared. The trio visit Haddo's abandoned home to find that he has used his magic to create life – hideous creatures living in tubes – and that this is the purpose for which he sacrificed Margaret's life. After finding the magician's dead body in his attic, Arthur sets fire to the manor to destroy all evidence of Haddo's occult experiments.
In this tale, the magician Oliver Haddo, a caricature of Aleister Crowley, attempts to create life. Crowley wrote a critique of this book under the pen name Oliver Haddo, in which he accused Maugham of plagiarism. Maugham wrote The Magician in London, after he had spent some time living in Paris, where he met Aleister Crowley. The novel was later republished with a foreword by Maugham entitled A Fragment of Autobiography.
There is a lot of bad blood to W. Somerset Maugham’s The Magician (1908). If this novel’s eponymous antihero, Oliver Haddo, bewitches the young beauty Margaret Dauncey into marrying him, such an ostensibly fantastic story would in fact prove rather too close to the bone. Haddo was based upon the occultist and self-publicist Aleister Crowley, whom Maugham had met years earlier in Paris; whilst Margaret finds herself in comparable circumstances to Crowley’s unfortunate wife Rose Edith Kelly. It is unclear how well Maugham knew Rose, but he was close friends with her brother, the painter Gerald Kelly. This figure fails to materialize to any effect within The Magician, although he had introduced Maugham to the Paris milieu which is initially depicted in the novel. Crowley and Rose had married in 1903 and like so many of Crowley’s worldly dealings, the marriage had been spectacularly disastrous. By 1911 Rose had been institutionalized with alcoholic dementia.
The Magician may not have been written out of revenge and Maugham may not have been personally affronted by Crowley’s treatment of Rose. Indeed, Maugham liberally pocketed characters from amongst his friends and acquaintances, and Crowley would enjoy a second, more sympathetic outing in Of Human Bondage (1915) as the cynical poet Cronshaw. Crowley himself reflected of Maugham’s barbs that,”I always feel that he, like myself, makes such remarks without malice, for the sake of their cleverness.” The Magician may have purely journalistic intentions, in volunteering to record for posterity Maugham’s recollections of an extraordinary acquaintance
Film The novel inspired a film of the same name directed in 1926 by Rex Ingram.
It is a silent horror film directed by Rex Ingram about a magician's efforts to acquire the blood of a maiden for his experiments to create life. It was adapted by Ingram from the novel The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham. It stars Alice Terry, Paul Wegener and Iván Petrovich.
References and notes: 1. "W. Somerset Maugham", The Literature Network 2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W._Somerset_Maugham 3. Edmund Wilson, quoted in Gore Vidal, 1990, p. 10. 4. “The Magician”, Somerset Maugham 5. http://www.ferventreader.com/2013/05/27/the-magician-by-w-somerset-maugham/ 8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magician_ 9. “The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham” by Selina Hastings 10. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/ 11. https://tychy.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/book-review-the-magician/