ease, slowly progressing throughout the life of the leper but not usually The progress of leprosy is slow. It may be years before a child incutting that life short. Management of leprosy involves social, fected by a parent shows the first sign of the disease, often a vague, vocational, medical, rehabilitative, orthopaedic, and reconstructive scarcely noticed spot on the skin. Years may pass before any change is surgical services. noticed, and the child has often grown to an adult before the disease is The disease is caused by the leprosy (or Hansen) bacillus, recognized. Lepers suffer occasionally from bouts of fever, but the Mycobacterium leprae, and has two principal forms, the tuberculoid course of the disease is mainly one of increasing disability and and the lepromatous. How the bacillus gets into the human body is not disfiguration. Lepers often do not die of leprosy; they can live a normal clearly known. It can be discharged in enormous quantities from the span of years and, with proper medical and rehabilitative care, can live nose or broken-down sores of an infected person and, therefore, can be in some measure of comfort.
inhaled or spread from skin to skin. It seems that prolonged, close Apart from the use of drugs, the management of the disease is a physical contact with an infected person usually (but not invariably) vast human problem. The leper must be helped in his disfigurement and precedes active infection in those who are susceptible. Congenital his paralysis. The greatest problem is the prevention of infection. A leprosy is unknown; infants born of infected parents do not develop the baby born to a leprous mother has little chance of escape unless it is disorder if separated from them at birth separated from her. A father is almost bound to infect some members of The human body's first reaction to the leprosy bacillus takes place his family unless taken away from them. The fear of separation makes in the deep layers of the skin. The intense cellular reaction involves all the family conceal the disease and thus increases the danger of its of the thicknesses of the skin and the tissues under it, the sweat glands, spread. The ideal must be not a colony for lepers but village or the hair follicles, and the nerve fibrils that end in the skin. All of this community groups in which whole families can live in good conditions shows up on the infected person's skin as a firm dry spot in which there and the leper can be given necessary treatment and the encouragement is no sense of heat, cold, or touch. The cellular reaction continues to and help to work within the disease's limitations.
spread into the main trunk of the involved nerve, tending to strangle it so that impulses cannot get up or down and thereby causing loss of 29 Appendix parts of the essential human creature who lives eternally by his work It seems to us that he does not. Where every detail should be pungently Read and compare two reviews of this novel written real, one is constantly checked in belief by the sense of calculated and years one after the other. What are the opinions and impressions heightened effect, and by the passion of Mr. Maugham for what is odd of the authors Why are they so different Which one do you and "strong." Such a passion has always defeated its object. Here once share more one is repelled, not by Strickland's monosyllabic callousness, but a) “The Moon and Sixpence” by W.S. Maugham reby the knowledge that this callousness is seen and represented without viewed in the Guardian, May 2 1919.
subtlety. The callousness of the artist is something more complex than it From the archives is here shown to be. The callousness of Strickland is merely the conventional brutality employed by other novelists of an older Drawing down the moon generation, the generation which first found in the behaviour of artists a theme to be exploited in fiction. That Mr. Maugham uses the elaboThe character of a man insensible to ordinary human relations, rations of a modern technique does not create the illusion of reality that who lives the life of pure selfishness which is sometimes supposed to he is pursuing. It simply emphasizes the cleverness, the clever unconproduce great art, has always had its fascination for novelists inspired vincingness, of his portrait – not at all the vigour and personality of one only by the unusual. Accordingly there have been novels in plenty who will starve and suffer for the sake of his artistic ideal.
depicting the conflict of (by ordinary standards) brutal genius with All the minor drawings in the book are extremely effective, and uncongenial environment and Mr. Maugham has followed a recognized the simplicity of the narrative is notable. Technically the whole thing convention in this story of an imaginary artist of posthumous greatness.
has great interest. But as an illumination of the nature of bizarre and He treats him throughout with mock respect, and surrounds his affairs uncompromising genius, ready to sacrifice every person and every with contributory detail. Mr. Maugham's story is that of a respectable association that stands in the way of its fulfillment, "The Moon and stockbroker who deserts his wife after seventeen years of marriage and Sixpence" fails through its literary accomplishment and its lack of true goes alone to Paris to follow a new ideal – the ideal of great and for a creative inspiration.
time unrecognizable art. The break is succeeded by privation and b) Review by Edward Tanguay published in the Guardindustry, by long periods of work and outbursts of savage sexual conian, August 13, quest; and the artist at length dies, blind and leprous, in Tahiti.
The book revolves throughout around the character of Strickland Before reading this I was a bit afraid that Maugham's fictional and the quality of his art. Does Mr. Maugham so convince us that his Strickland would somehow distort my conception of Paul Gauguin.
Strickland is a real man and a real artist that we can absorb his traits as Whether this is true or not, Gauguin's paintings now glow with that vast 31 hollowness of possessed genius with which Maugham instills Stickland He is so dry it makes you laugh. But then you realize that Strickin the book. land is seriously empty and the emotions waver to sadness and then disIn a plummeting step-by-step fall you get to know Strickland. gust for him. You are not expecting how removed Strickland is from Maugham begins with what is a super ordinary man ("He was null. He normal social behavior and you begin guessing what has happened inwas probably a worthy member of society, a good husband and father, side of him. Maugham has a way of letting you identify with the narraan honest broker; but there was no reason to waste one's time over tor ("I could not struggle against his indifference.").
him.") Maugham spends a calculated amount of time describing to you Strickland has "the directness of the fanatic and the ferocity of the ordinariness of Strickland's life and character, here, of Strickland the apostle." He becomes not so much an intricate character but a fanand his wife: tastically unbelievable character. In fact, describing Strickland the man They would grow old insensibly; they would see their son and becomes the goal of the book.
daughter come to years of reason, marry in due course – the one a Does Strickland not have the same morals as the pursuer of Lopretty girl, future mother of healthy children; the other a handsome, lita It is an all-out pursuit of beauty, and that is the only moral rule.
manly fellow, obviously a soldier; and at last, prosperous in their digni- When confronted that if everyone acted like him, "the world couldn't go fied retirement, beloved by their descendants, after a happy, not unuse- on," Strickland replies, "That's a damned silly thing to say. Everyone ful life, in the fullness of their age they would sink into the grave. doesn't want to act like me. The great majority are perfectly content to This builds you up for the descending into Strickland's empty do the ordinary thing." This is not really impressive reasoning, but reasoul. And one day in a natural Sartrian movement of absolute freedom, soning is not what Strickland does well.
Strickland just leaves. Something must have smoothly and silently bro- "You evidently don't believe in the maxim: Act so that every one ken inside of him to make him just move away. He has no more emo- of your actions is capable of being made into a universal rule." tion, and Maugham spends the rest of the book expertly showing us this – "I never heard it before, but it's rotten nonsense." in contact after contact between the narrator and Strickland. – "Well, it was Kant who said it." In meeting after meeting, Strickland proves himself to be nothing – "I don't care; it's rotten nonsense." else but empty of normal response ("Then, what in God's name have The narrator (does the narrator have a name) continues to reason you left her for" – "I want to paint.") He "just wants to paint," which is with Strickland, but to no avail, there is no end to his depth of indifferan extremely mild way of putting that he needs to madly pursue a gen- ence, he simply doesn't feel those feelings that others feel about social ius demon inside of him. Strickland simply repeats, "I've got to paint" commitment and responsibility towards others.
until finally he is confronted with "You are a most unmitigated cad" to I enjoyed seeing how those back in England responded to the which he replies, "Now that you've got that off your chest, let's go and news of him in Paris. They try to understand him ("Charles Strickland have dinner." 33 had become infatuated with a French dancer"), yet they have no para- Strickland was indifferent to his surroundings, and he had lived digms with which to understand the man. No one seems to. in the other's studio without thinking of altering a thing.
Dirk Stroeve and his wife come into the story as perfect foils to When I imagined that on seeing his pictures I should get a clue to show us the next set of depths to which Strickland's fate binds him. That the understanding of his strange character I was mistaken. They merely Stroeve forgives Strickland in the end for ruining his wife to her death increased the astonishment with which he filled me.
brings out Strickland's character even more so. With Strickland the sexual appetite took a very small place. It Strickland becomes a paradox ("He was a sensual man, and yet was unimportant. It was irksome. His soul aimed else where. He had was indifferent to sensual things") yet you begin to get a better picture violent passions, and on occasion desire seized his body so that he was of him from description to description ("He did not seem quite sane. It driven to an orgy of lust, but hated the instincts that robbed him of his seemed to me that he would not show his pictures because he was really self-possession. I think, even, he hated the inevitable partner in his denot interested in them. I had the idea that he seldom brought anything bauchery. When he had regained command over himself, he shuddered to completion, but the passion that fired him, he lost all care for it.") at the sight of the woman he had enjoyed.
The more possessed Strickland appears, the more you understand him. Strickland was an odious man, but I still think he was a great An important distinction that surprised me was that Strickland one.
was not an elegant speaker: When Stroeve's wife stated that she was in love with Strickland He used gestures instead of adjectives, and he halted. He never we get one level deeper. This episode shows a nice love/hate attraction, said a clever thing, but he had a vein of brutal sarcasm which was not which emphasizes Strickland's paradoxal nature.
ineffective, and he always said exactly what he thought." The shift to the island gave the book a new dimension and kept it He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fel- fresh. This is a nicely balanced book, you do not get bored in any setlows only by signs, and signs have no common value, so that their sense ting of it, it has a motion all the way through. As strange as the island is, is vague and uncertain. it was a place which Strickland needed:
Like a sculptor, Maugham reveals Strickland's character piece by Sometimes a man hits upon a place to which he mysteriously feels piece: that he belongs. Here is the home he sought, and he will settle amid For choice he sat on a kitchen chair without arms. It often exas- scenes that he has never seen bfore, among men he has never known, as perated me to see him. I never knew a man so entirely indifferent to his though they were familiar to him from his birth. Here at last he finds surroundings. rest.
The emotions common to most of us simply did not exist in him, He painted and he read, and in the evening, when it was dark, and it was as absurd to blame him for not feeling them as for blaming they sat together on the veranda, smoking and looking at the night.
the tiger because he is fierce and cruel.
35 He was an extraordinary figure, with his red beard and matted The characters are sharp in this book. Maugham is a master at hair, and his great hairy chest. His feet were horny and scarred; so that this. For instance, you get full, bright concepts of Stroeve's character in I knew he went always barefoot. He had gone native with a venge- descriptions like this:
ance.(!) I suggested that he should get a thermometer, and a few grapes, The ending has a Dorian Grey touch, as if Strickland's looks and and some bread. Stroeve, glad to make himself useful, clattered down leprous condition began to show the deterioration of his soul. Then a the stairs.
visitor comes to the house and finds that Strickland, even though He looked like an overblown schoolboy, and though I felt so blinded from leprosy, had painted the inside walls of his cabin as he sorry for him, I could hardly help laughing.
died. Here you get the last clues into the depths of Strickland's pos- Stroeve stopped again and mopped his face.
sessed soul: I begged Stroeve to behave more wisely.
His eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, and now he was Fine writing. Enjoyed the book.
seized by an overwhelming sensation as he stared at the painted walls. Edward Tanguay He knew nothing of pictures, but there was something about these that extraordinarily affected him. From floor to ceiling the walls were covered with a strange and elaborate composition. It was indescribably wonderful and mysterious. It took his breath away. It filled him with an emotion which he could not understand or analyze. He felt the awe and the delight which a man might feel who watched the beginning of a world. It was tremendous, sensual, passionate; and yet there was something horrible there too, something which made him afraid. It was the work of a man who had delved into the hidden depths of nature and had discovered secrets which were beautiful and fearful too. It was the work of a man who knew things which it is unholy for men to know. There was something primeval there and terrible. It was not human. It brought to his mind vague recollections of black magic. It was beautiful and obscene.
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