The Moon and Sixpence - W. Somerset Maugham - Страница 1 из 270


The Moon and Sixpence
by W. Somerset Maugham
Author of "Of Human Bondage"
THE MOON AND SIXPENCE
The Moon and Sixpence
Chapter I
I confess that when first I made acquaintance with Charles
Strickland I never for a moment discerned that there was in
him anything out of the ordinary. Yet now few will be found
to deny his greatness. I do not speak of that greatness which
is achieved by the fortunate politician or the successful
soldier; that is a quality which belongs to the place he
occupies rather than to the man; and a change of circumstances
reduces it to very discreet proportions. The Prime Minister
out of office is seen, too often, to have been but a pompous
rhetorician, and the General without an army is but the tame
hero of a market town. The greatness of Charles Strickland
was authentic. It may be that you do not like his art, but at
all events you can hardly refuse it the tribute of your
interest. He disturbs and arrests. The time has passed when
he was an object of ridicule, and it is no longer a mark of
eccentricity to defend or of perversity to extol him.
His faults are accepted as the necessary complement to his merits.
It is still possible to discuss his place in art, and the
adulation of his admirers is perhaps no less capricious than
the disparagement of his detractors; but one thing can never
be doubtful, and that is that he had genius. To my mind the
most interesting thing in art is the personality of the
artist; and if that is singular, I am willing to excuse a


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