Corners bumped rear panel shows staining. William Heinemann, 1922 Then, there comes my second-born, but my favourite. First published in The Collected Edition, April 1935. You have long empty hours that you can fritter away without the uneasy consciousness that time is flying and there is not a moment to waste. Blue cloth boards with gilt lettering. Jonathan Cape - The Travellers' Library, 1927. His opinions are not openly stated; his views are implied.
She was sincere in her repentance and her attempt to reform, but the high minded preacher all too fallible and unaware of his own Achilles's heel shared with all life, if not more than a little hypocritical in his imposition of his will and his standards of virtue on all and sundry. But the Grand High Witch and her cronies have reckoned without the spark and ingenuity of a young guest at the hotel and his rather brilliant grandmother. Of course, one haunting thought continues throughout the book. But how exquisite were those starry nights! Later they were collected in Cosmopolitans 1936. It was written in 1922, but many of the same types of ex-pats are alive and well in China today. And behold, while this book might seems to be a thin, quick read but take a lot time for grasping each piece. But once dared to be into it, it discovers itself into a great insight about unsettling Europeans on a Chinese land of 18th century.
I have been so sluggish with my reading don't ask me why , but I just couldn't close this one. Within the narrow confines of their colonial milieu, missionaries, consuls, army officers and company managers are all gently ridiculed as they persist obliviously with the life they know. I like to sleep night after night in a different place and I am not particular about my accommodation. It certainly will last longer, or has lasted longer that me, and will continue to do so for years to come. This is a collection of ex-pat profiles, mostly of Brits in China, who range from diplomats to sailors to missionaries.
Though he was apt to be disingenuous about minor details, Maugham was honest with his readers about the essentials. While in some parts the country is rapidly modernizing, in others it hasn't changed at all - the only things not to be found anymore are bound feet, opium dens, and coolies caring the rich in sedan chairs. When cameras were less portable or had not been invented, they took a pad and pencils and sketched. This man may not be very intelligent. First published by George H. When I am in a foreign town I prefer to wander at random and if maybe I lose the rapture of a Gothic cathedral I may happen upon a little Romanesque chapel or a Renaissance doorway which I shall be able to flatter myself no one else has troubled about.
Be that as it may, On a Chinese Screen is a treasure trove for the student of Maugham. Printed pages: 237 William Heinemann, 1922. Always more interested in people than places, he gave full rein to a sensitive and philosophical nature. Unfortunately for them there is not merely a usual contingent of the disapproving couples and other respectable members of society but also a preacher very sure and proud of himself, who goes after the woman with denunciation and promised hell fire to all that would consort with her. As shown by his biographer Selina Hastings in The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham, the trip to China was a success and in letters that he wrote more than 15 years later, he recalled Peking with very fond memories. Easy to read, and worth reading. It goes without saying that Maugham is better with people than with places.
Within the narrow confines of their colonial milieu, missionaries, consuls, army officers and company managers are all gently ridiculed as they persist obliviously with the life they know. This book plays an important role in Maugham's development as a professional writer, opening a new path to another genre for him. I am not an industrious sight-seer, and when guides, professional or friendly, urge me to visit a famous monument I have a stubborn inclination to send them about their business. A little crowd, tattered in their blue clothes, is gathered about the gate and it scatters as a youth in a pointed cap gallops up on a Mongolian pony. Front panel loosened from binding, shows scuffing and edge wear. A string of camels, heavily laden, steps warily past you.
One is a proud philosopher in traditional Chinese costume, the other a student of drama in European clothing hoping for some wisdom from Maugham. I think he was rather in the earnest. Others were somewhat sad and, again, Maugham wrote those with just the right amount of pathos. He contemplated a continuous narrative, but finally decided to publish the notes as they were lest they otherwise lose their freshness. I read The Gentleman in the Parlour in a 2001 Vintage paperback, but so far only Don Fernando in The Travel Books.
I have even enjoyed sleeping on sacks of copra in a launch and it would be hard to find anything more lumpy. The sketches are not arranged by theme and it is difficult to tell if there is any order to them at all. But when he got home, he found the freshness of his descriptions enchanting and a writeup or any attempt to string them together into a coherent narrative would ruin it. He seems almost to belong to a different species. Neither is it about the effects of the war. Summary by BellonaTimes More information:. These are a series of snapshots into different individuals that could have been sketches for stories themselves.
Among the 58 chapters in On a Chinese Screen, 15 are descriptions of scenery, 10 are on natives portraits of their appearances or actions; only 2 relate a direct interaction between them and the author, which didn't turn out to be happy occasions , 32 are on expatriates that Maugham met, and one chapter curiously denotes the homesickness that the author was feeling. Always more interested in people than places, he gave full rein to a sensitive and philosophical nature. Many of the portraits are pretty scathing, but they are generally pretty humane as well. It took him almost ten years before he had it published, as The Gentleman in the Parlour 1930. The endpapers are browned, and there is some light foxing of the contents.
Maugham captures a good deal of the Chinese culture and, from what I saw of The Bund in Shanghai, the Colonial era in full swing. I confess to not having yet read all of On a Chinese Screen, but only the stories reprinted in The Complete Short Stories. These chapters portray a deep divide between the two cultures, broadly defined as Eastern and Western. Was it possible that one of the commanders of the Macedonian, after the expedition into India, had found his way into this mysterious corner of China under the shadow of the mountains of Tibet? Just like Maugham is amused that people fall into few types and exhibit the same characteristics over and over again, it is fun for his readers to note how several major themes occur again and again under disguise in his works. What seems to capture his fascination most is the displaced persons and their relationship to this foreign country, a relationship that reveals something otherwise hidden in one's personality. The endpapers are mildly tanned.