Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham and References to Paintings

In another post, I talked about the use of art reference as a narrative technique in W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Merry-Go-Round (1904), he did the same in The Magician (1908), which undoubtedly leads Aleister Crowley to include art alongside magic as the subject of the novel (albeit in a sarcastic manner) [1]. I find it extremely interesting to put the paintings beside the passages, and in this post you will see the description or invocation of art in Maugham's novel The Magician.

I am using the first edition copy of The Magician, but you can find the link to a free ebook copy easily on this blog since it is out of copyright.

Art Reference in The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham


the magician maugham, art reference
an Aubrey Beardsley
"Arthur sat down, and was hurriedly introduced to a lanky youth, who sat on the other side of Margaret. He was very tall, very thin, very fair. He wore a high collar and very long hair, and held himself like an exhausted lily.
"'He always reminds me of an Aubrey Beardsley that's been dreadfully smudged,' said Susie in an undertone. 'He's a nice, kind creature, but his name is Jagson. He has virtue and industry. I haven't seen any of his work, but he has absolutely no talent'" (31).

*

the magician maugham, art reference
Del Boro/
Oliver Haddo
"For an instant Oliver Haddo resumed his effective pose; and Susie, smiling, looked at him. He was a man of great size, two or three inches more than six feet high; but the most noticeable thing about him was a vast obesity. His paunch was of imposing dimensions. His face was large and fleshy. He had thrown himself into the arrogant attitude of Velasquez's portrait of Del Boro in the Museum of Berlin; and his countenance bore of set purpose the same contemptuous smile" (37).
the magician maugham, art reference
Aleister Crowley in 1934

Let's compare this portrait with Crowley who, as Maugham confesses in the preface for the collected edition of the novel, serves as the model for Haddo:

"Though Aleister Crowley served, as I have said, as the model for Oliver Haddo, it is by no means a portrait of him. I made my character more striking in appearance, more sinister and more ruthless than Crowley ever was. I gave him magical powers that Crowley, though he claimed them, certainly never possessed."

In this photo taken twenty-six years later, certainly Crowley was getting to be "more striking in appearance, more sinister and more ruthless," and shall we add, more substantial in weight, than he was before.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Liza of Lambeth - First Edition by W. Somerset Maugham

Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham, First edition
Liza of Lambeth 1897 front cover
Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham, first edition
Liza of Lambeth 1897 back cover

Liza of Lambeth (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1897)



Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham, first edition
Fisher Unwin's monogram and title page  
Liza of Lambeth (1897) is Maugham's first novel; he wrote it when he was still in the medical school at St. Thomas's. When it was accepted and published, Maugham made up his mind to ditch medicine and launched himself into the writing career. Liza of Lambeth is currently out of copyright, and you can find a link to a free digitalised copy of this novel, among others, by Somerset Maugham on the Free eBook page on this blog. This post is about the details of the first edition of this book by Maugham.

First Edition - Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham


I can hardly contain my excitement. I just received my first edition of Maugham's first book! I have already possessed the jubilee edition that I reviewed some time ago, which is in itself a beauty, especially since it's a signed copy. At that time the first edition was too pricey for my budget, but I recently came across the opportunity of an affordable copy.

My copy is the variant described by Stott:
Liza of Lambeth by W. Somerset Maugham, first edition
title page verso
It has been noted that copies of the first issue and also of the Colonial Edition exist with a variant on the verso of the title page, the words 'All rights reserved' appear without brackets. At this late date one can only surmise that the sheets of the second impression (which lacked the brackets) had somehow got mixed with the first when being stacked for the binder. (16)
I do have a first issue of Orientations (1899) and it has "All rights reserved" in brackets, but it no longer has the publisher's monogram.





Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Spoken Word: British Writers


maugham audio books, audio book recording, historic recording, a writer's notebook, maugham books



The Spoken Word: British Writers, 3-CD Set (British Library - British Library Sound Archive): Historic Recordings by Original Authors


This is a review of another of the British Library and the BBC historic recordings of authors reading their own short stories. You will find detailed information of Maugham's reading his work and the content of this three CD sets.


Maugham's Reading A Writer's Notebook


Another recordings of writers reading their own works by the British Library and the BBC. There are three more volumes featuring Maugham reading his own short stories, which I have reviewed before. 

In this collection, Maugham reads from A Writer's Notebook (1949). The reading was recorded in 1949 and the original lasts for thirty minutes, only 7.08 minutes are on this CD, unfortunately. I wonder if the British Library and the BBC would consider issuing a full CD for Maugham as has been done for other writers such as Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, H.G.Wells, Edith Sitwell, George Barker, among others.

Extracts from A Writer's Notebook


The passages that he reads are at the end of the book, under the year 1944:
. . . it occurred to me that the greatest compensation of old age is its freedom of spirit. I suppose that is accompanied by a certain indifference to many of the things that men in their prime think important. Another compensation is that it liberates you from envy, hatred and malice. I do not believe that I envy anyone. I have made the most I could of such gifts as nature provided me with; I do not envy the success of others. I am quiet willing to vacate the little niche I have occupied so long and let another step into it. I no longer mind what people think of me. They can take me or leave me. I am mildly pleased when they appear to like me and undisturbed if I know they don't. I have long known that there is something in me that antagonizes certain persons; I think it very natural, no one can like everyone; and their ill will interests rather than discomposes me. I am only curious to know what it is in me that is antipathetic to them. Nor do I mind what they think of me as a writer. On the whole I have done what I set out to do, and the rest does not concern me. I have never much cared for the notoriety which surrounds the successful writer and which many of us are simple enough to mistake for fame, and I have often wished that I had written under a pseudonym so that I might have passed through the world unnoticed. I did indeed write my first novel under one [1], and only put my own name to it because my publisher warned me that the book might be violently attacked and I did not wish to hide myself under a made-up name. I suppose few authors can help cherishing a secret hope that they will not be entirely forgotten the moment they die, and I have occasionally amused myself by weighing the chances I have of survival for a brief period.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Short Stories. English and Irish Authors Read Their Own Work (The Spoken Word)

maugham audio books, audio book recording, historic recording, salvatore, the luncheon, maugham short stories, maugham books


Short Stories: English & Irish Authors Read Their Own Work (The Spoken Word)

This is a review of this three CD set The Spoken Word. Short Stories: English and Irish Authors Read Their Own Work, which contains tracks of Maugham reading his own short stories: "Salvatore" and "The Luncheon." You will also find details of the content in this collection of historic recordings.

Maugham's Short Stories


This is the first volume of the audio recording that I reviewed some time ago. In this volume, Maugham reads two short stories: "Salvatore" and "The Luncheon," both collected in Cosmopolitans (1936). The recordings were broadcasted on the same day: 20 February 1951. Maugham was by then seventy-seven years old. It is delightful to hear him read his own stories and indeed he is a very good (vocal) teller of tales. I wonder if there is any recording by him when he was younger; I am curious as to how he sounded like.

There are all together 3 CDs; the content is as follows:

The Magician - W. Somerset Maugham


The Magician, 1908 [1921]

The Magician (New York: George H. Doran, 1908[1921])


Besides being a very good read that this post will discuss in more details, I will also talk about the acquisition process of this edition, which is listed very often as 1908 first edition. If you are interested in book publication history, this novel by Maugham, The Magician, presents an interesting case.


Comments on W. Somerset Maugham's The Magician


I went through the book as fast as the first time. It is true, as Aleister Crowley (whom Maugham caricatures in an especially unsavoury way as Oliver Haddo, the obese magician that gives the title to the novel) writes in his rebuke, that magic and art are topics that everyone is fascinated by but not many know much about. I am not quite sure about art for everyone but magic certainly. There is something immensely enjoyable about the novel.

The accusation of plagiarism from Crowley is quite convincing with the passages that he cites [1], but you do not really care because of the seamless way that Maugham weaves all of them together into one formidable narrative.

Set in Paris; Arthur Burdon (a very similar character as Frank Hurrell in The Merry-Go-Round (1904)) arrives to visit his fiancée Margaret Dauncey, who has gone there to study art, chaperoned by Susie Boyd, a typical Maugham character, cold and detached observing people and life in general with a heart of gold. However, she is also slightly different, because she gets emotionally involved by her passion towards her friend's fiancé Arthur. They meet Oliver Haddo, a repulsive obese big mouth who can talk well nevertheless, and somehow he seems to follow them around.

The subject is magic and necromancy, with a minor character Dr. Porhoët, researcher also in necromancy, to counter the black arts of Haddo.

After a very well-described humiliating scene in which Arthur thrashes Haddo like a dog, the latter

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The Merry-Go-Round by W. Somerset Maugham and References to Paintings

When I was reading The Merry-Go-Round (1904) I noticed that Maugham often referred to paintings in order to describe his characters. I thought it would be interesting to put them side by side with the passages, so may be we could visualize what Maugham had in mind when he made these art references in his novel.

Art References and The Merry-Go-Round


somerset maugham novel, the merry go round, art reference,
Mrs. Castillyon/
"a shepherdess in Dresden china" 
Well, this is not exactly a painting... "Mrs. Castillyon was a vivacious creature, small and dainty like a shepherdess in Dresden china, excitable and restless, who spoke with a loud, shrill voice; and with a quick, nervous gesture, constantly threw herself back in her chair to laugh boisterously at what Reggie said"(40).


****


somerset maugham novel, the merry go round, art reference
Lady Vizard/
Madame de Montespan
"'I [Miss Ley] used at one time occasionally to meet her at parties, and she [Lady Vizard] struck me as one of the most splendid, majestic women I ever saw; one felt that something like that must have looked Madame de Montespan'" (47).

****

somerset maugham novel, the merry go round, art reference
Mrs. Murray/
Botticelli Venus
"She [Mrs. Murray] was a tall woman, as tall as himself, with a certain boyishness of figure that lent itself to a sinuous distinction of line; her hair was neither dark nor fair, the eyes gray and tender, but her smile was very noticeable for a peculiar sweetness that marked an attractive nature. And if there was no precise beauty in her face, its winsome expression, the pallor of her skin, gave it a fascinating grave sadness reminiscent of the women of Sandro Botticelli: there was that same inscrutable look of melancholy eyes which suggested a passionate torment repressed and hidden, and she had that very grace of gesture which one is certain was theirs" (54).

****

somerset maugham novel, the merry go round, art reference
Mrs. Murray's gown/
Catherine Cornaro by Titian
"Mrs. Murray had never looked handsomer than that night when she stood in the hall, holding herself very erect, and spoke with Basil while waiting for her carriage. Her cloak was so beautiful that the young man remarked on it, and she, flushing slightly with pleasure because he noticed, looked down at the heavy brocade as splendid as some material of the eighteenth century.
"'I bought the stuff in Venice,' she said, 'but I feel almost unworthy to wear it. I wouldn't resist it because it's exactly like a gown worn by Catherine Cornaro in a picture in one of the galleries'" (54-55).

****

somerset maugham novel, the merry go round, art reference
Moretto, Portrait of a Gentleman
"At last he [Basil] came to that portrait of an Italian nobleman by Moretto, which to an imaginative mind seems to express the whole spirit of the later Renaissance. It fitted his mood strangely. He thought that to make lovely patterns was the ultimate end of the painter's art, and noticed with keen appreciation the decorative effect of the sombre colouring and of the tall man, leaning, melancholy and languid, in that marble embrasure. Nameless through the ages, he stood in an attitude that was half weariness and half affectation; and his restrained despair was reflected by the tawny landscape of the background, blank like the desert places of the spiritual life; the turquoise sky even was cold and sad. The date was given, 1526, and he wore the slit sleeves and hose of the period; (the early passion for the New Birth was passed already; for Michaelangelo was dead, and Caesar Borgia rotted in far Navarre;)
the dark cerise of his parti-coloured dress was no less mournful than

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Merry-Go-Round by W. Somerset Maugham

maugham's the merry go round, 1st edition, novel by somerset maugham,
The Merry-Go-Round
First Edition


The Merry-Go-Round (London: Heinemann, 1904)


This post will discuss The Merry-Go-Round, which is one of Maugham's early novels, and describe the first edition.

The Merry-Go-Round by W. Somerset Maugham


This is the last novel by Maugham that I read; by finishing it I have read all his novels. Before reading it, I put it in the category of The Making of a Saint (1898), Up At the Villa (1941), The Hour Before the Dawn (1942), Then and Now (1946), and Catalina (1948), from the impression that I got from the comments on it. However, I had a very pleasant surprise.

Maugham was very dissatisfied with the sale of this book and complained to his agent, William Maurice Colles (whom he dismissed afterwards), that Heinemann did not advertise enough to promote it [1]. According to the two contemporary reviews selected by Curtis and Whitehead, the reception was not all that bad [2].

The book in itself is an enjoyable read, and more so for those who are interested in Maugham as a writer. Knowing his later novels and other writings, this novel strikes one as tremendously schizophrenic. His philosophy and world views are distributed among different characters, each with his/her own personality and emotions. Maugham is at the same time Miss Ley [3], Frank Hurrell, and Basil Kent, monitoring different sides of his own personality; idealistic, honourable, cold, indifferent, world-wearied, emotional, intolerant, generous, accepting, hopeful, down-to-earth, sanguine; one is checked by the other.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Chronicles of Barabbas 1884-1934 by George H. Doran

comments on somerset maugham, somerset maugham publisher, maugham s, george h doran, chronicle of barabbas
George H. Doran

Doran, George H. Chronicles of Barabbas 1884-1934. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1935.


Chronicles of Barabbas is a memoir by George H. Doran, Maugham's American publisher since Of Human Bondage (1915), up to 1927 when the company merged with Doubleday and became Doubleday, Doran and Company. This post will review Doran's comments on Maugham on a personal level (such as how he played golf...) and as a professional writer.

Doran explains why he names his book so:
The legend runs that at one time Lord Byron had done some special favour for his publisher, the second John Murray. In acknowledgment and recognition of this favour Mr. Murray sent to Lord Byron a very handsomely bound copy of the Holy Bible. Repelled by this, under the circumstances, highly irrelevant if not completely hypocritical expression, Lord Byron returned the gift, making but one brief but significant comment. In the chapter in the Gospel by St. Matthew which reads: "Now Barabbas was a robber," Byron altered that one word which made the sentence to read: "Now Barabbas was a publisher." (8)
It is an interesting read on the authors whose works Doran published, among them Maugham, to whom Doran devotes a chapter. He goes over the books that he published with Maugham briefly. He has nothing but praises for the latter:
He [Maugham] has a clairvoyant power of analysis and an almost uncanny power of reading other people's thoughts. His criticism is incisive and illuminating. One day I asked him if he had read Hugh Walpole's Harmer John, which I had just published. "No," he replied. "Why should I? Jesus has already done that story so completely." To a greater degree than the meticulous and precise Arnold Bennett, Maugham is a master of craftsman, without, however, suggesting cogs in the machinery as did Bennett. Nor was he to be lured into the paths of journalism. He is a shrewd bargainer, with a proper and equitable appraisal of the value of his work for magazine or book publication or for the stage. But ever he is loyal to his producing friends. He is the friend and mentor of many young writers in whom he has discovered the divine spark, while he is impatient and contemptuous of the maudlin and inarticulate writer. (127-128)
The only complaint Doran has is the sole instance of unsportsmanlike behaviour of Maugham when he prevented the parody, Gin and Bitters, on his Cakes and Ale from being published in England (128). This is followed by some description of the Villa Mauresque and Maugham's hospitality, in contrast with the frugality in his personal habit.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Maugham the Art Collector


The Artist and the Theatre. Maugham's theatrical painting collection

Mander, Raymond, and Joe Mitchenson. The Artist and the Theatre. The Story of the Paintings Collected and Presented to the National Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham. London: Heinemann, 1955.

Maugham and his collection

This post is about a catalogue of one of Maugham's art collections: the theatrical pictures that he donated to the National Theatre. This impressive art collection seemed to have finally found their home, though unfortunately, not as Maugham would have wished, the collection was dispersed, albeit all in Bath, in Holbourne Museum and the Theatre Royal, after their temporary sojourn in the old Theatre Museum in Convent Garden and having four stolen and one never recovered.

The Artist and the Theatre


As we know, Maugham himself was a collector of artworks. Interestingly, he decided to part with his theatrical pictures and his collection of impressionist and modern paintings during his life time, an action which, I bet, not many people would have the heart to do so if circumstances allow.

Maugham tells us in this book that his decision to donate the theatrical paintings is due to the fact that he wishes to preserve the whole collection instead of seeing them littered all over the world; as for his impressionists and moderns, he writes that the hassles of preventing them from being stolen are not worth keeping them with him [1]. (As hindsight, he really did shift the responsibility to others.) Nevertheless, one wonders if there is something of what Maugham has concluded from scrutinizing Miss Ley in The Merry-Go-Round (1904):
She had taken care never in the course of her life to cumber herself with chattels, and once, with a courage in which there was surely something heroic, feeling that she became too much attached to her belongings—cabinets and exquisite fans brought from Spain, Florentine frames of gilded wood and English mezzotints, Neapolitan bronzes, tables and settees discovered in out-of-the-way parts of France—she had sold everything. She would not risk to grow so fond of her home that it was a pain to leave it; she preferred to remain a wayfarer, sauntering through life with a heart keen to detect beauty, and a mind, open and unbiassed, ready to laugh at the absurd. (11-2)
This book, The Artist and the Theatre, is more than a catalogue of Maugham's collection of theatrical paintings. Mander and Mitchenson, themselves actors and collectors, have devoted much time and efforts in finding out about each of the paintings presented. There is detailed information about the play, the original playbills, the actors, the moment captured in the paintings, the painter, and comparison of the copy in Maugham's collection and the ones in other collections.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Maugham's Of Human Bondage and the Anatomy of Desire

review of comments on Maugham's novel Of Human Bondage, article on maugham, maugham criticism
Chapter 5: Maugham's Of Human Bondage and the Anatomy of Desire

Lane, Christopher. "Maugham's Of Human Bondage and the Anatomy of Desire." The Ruling Passion: British Colonial Allegory and The Paradox of Homosexual Desire. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. 126-144.


This post will review a chapter from the book of criticism, The Ruling Passion: British Colonial Allegory and the Paradox of Homosexual Desire, on one of W. Somerset Maugham's novels, Of Human Bondage (1915). The review will dwell on some details, examining the arguments posed by the author Christopher Lane, which are tremendously weakened by a series of factual errors.

"Maugham's Of Human Bondage and the Anatomy of Desire"


In the previous post about an article on W. Somerset Maugham, I mentioned Theodore Spencer's list of four criteria in the evaluation of a serious fiction. Basically the idea is to create a logical world in which the reader can believe, a world that follows its internal rule. It does not matter whether it is different from ours. It is the same with interpretation; even if it is based on a theory that the reader may or may not accept, the interpretation has to be coherent and logical throughout.

Lane's chapter is a demonstration of one having a theory and, driven by one's conviction that it is true, one consciously or unconsciously (since he is taking quite a bit from Freud) forces one's evidence to fit one's theory. It can be said that one is "seeing things."

Philip Carey Reading Schopenhauer


In order to make a transition from his last chapter on Conrad's Victory, Lane compares the two protagonists by their reading of Schopenhauer; he writes: "... Maugham's protagonist, Philip Carey, reads the same philosopher to understand the vicissitudes of his aberrant and unmanageable 'will'" (126).

Monday, 8 April 2013

Somerset Maugham

Spencer, Theodore. "Somerset Maugham." College English 2 (1940): 1-10. 


This post is one of a series in which I review the critical analysis on W. Somerset Maugham's work. This is an old article published during Maugham's lifetime, assessing his achievement up to then. In this article Theodore Spencer examines Maugham's books as a whole up to 1940, and comments on Cakes and Ale (1930) and Of Human Bondage (1915).

"Somerset Maugham"


photo of somerset maugham in 1940s
Maugham in early '40s
Spencer ventures to explain the probable reason of Maugham's lack of luck with the critics (contrary to his success with the public), which is due to his frankness, his assessment of himself (which often gets a malicious agreement instead of a polite contradiction), and the fact that he writes in regular hours every day like Anthony Trollop (who has been also out of favour), instead of writing when touched by the wings of inspiration.

This was in the 40s, of course now we are more tolerant and accept that professional writers earn their bread with their pens (or keyboard). From my experience of the academic life, I do find that being humble is often taken as a weakness instead of what it is.


Mediocrity / Simplicity


Spencer goes so far as to the unfairness of Maugham being slighted by the academic world, but he readily admits his mediocrity and insufficiency. He admires his colloquial language and simplicity, but then at times it is overdone (it's like saying to Mozart that there are too many notes in his opera; I don't know if that anecdote is true; I confess that my knowledge of Mozart limits to watching Amadeus. I belong to the public after all).

Cakes and Ale Losing Flavour


However, I certainly have to disagree about Cakes and Ale (1930) losing it's flavour upon second reading. I still admire his dexterity and cleverness in Cakes and Ale and, come on, have a good laugh at all the people he describes. I do reckon that some of Maugham's books are brilliant and some are so-so, but you can't reject him simply by his less accomplished works.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

The Moon and Sixpence Illustrated by Frederic Dorr Steele and Paul Gauguin - W. Somerset Maugham



Illustrated by Frederic Dorr Steele and Paul Gauguin By W. Somerset Maugham The Moon and Sixpence (New York: The Heritage Press, 1941)

I just got hold of this beautiful illustrated edition of The Moon and Sixpence. In the catalogue online when I bought it it was dated as 1919, which is not accurate, since it is published in 1941. At first I thought that it could be an earlier edition than the one mentioned in Stott.

Besides the main text, at the beginning a series of correspondence is included as to how the edition came into being:
October 20, 1939; to W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, VILLA MAURESQUE, CAP FERRAT, ALPES MARITIMES: "I have for several years been told by those who liked illustrated books that there should be a fine edition of The Moon and Sixpence. I think that an edition illustrated with reproductions of some of the paintings by Paul Gauguin would become a happy possession of admirers of the book. Since the reproduction of these paintings, as illustrations for the novel, would prove an expensive undertaking, such an edition would be beyond the reach or desire of the ordinary 'trade' publisher. I write you now to ask whether we could have your permission to issue such an edition upon payment of a proper royalty?" GEORGE MACY.
November 5, 1939; to GEORGE MACY, THE HERITAGE PRESS, NEW YORK: "Forgive this casual way of writing, but I am busy with war work, rushed to death, and with no secretary at the moment. Yes, I should be very glad; but you must also arrange with Doubleday Doran." W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

La Closerie des Lilas & Maugham

the restaurant la closerie des lilas in the early 20th century, somerset maugham
La Closerie des Lilas, early 20th century

photo of the author somerset maugham about 17
W. Somerset Maugham about 17

W. Somerset Maugham's Reference to La Closerie des Lilas in Of Human Bondage


In this post I will look at several restaurants mentioned in one of W. Somerset Maugham's novels, Of Human Bondage, that Philip Carey frequented when he was studying arts in Paris, such as Gravier's, Le Versailles, and La Closerie des Lilas.

Recently I have taken on the task of rereading Of Human Bondage (1915). After finishing a stressful and boring month, full of mundane and dull duties and daily contact with the hollow men, the stuffed men (albeit young ones), it is such a welcoming breeze to feel my brain responding to stimuli. 

I will write a fuller post after I finish the whole book again, but I cannot help making a comment on a part of Philip's experience in Paris. 

Parisian Restaurants in Of Human Bondage


Gravier's


I have been following Philip's references to restaurants. I have not been able to locate Gravier's, which, according to Clutton, is "the best place for getting dyspepsia at the lowest cost in the Quarter." 

It is likely that it has been closed for a long time. Nevertheless, according to Rogal, Gravier's is actually Le Chat Blanc in the Rue d'Odessa near the Gare Montparnasse [1]. If that is the case, I wonder why Maugham keeps the real name of the other restaurants and changes this one. 

Maugham does mention a restaurant conspicuously called the Chien Noir in another book, The Magician (1908): "The Chien Noir, where Susie Boyd and Margaret generally dined, was the most charming restaurant in the quarter" (30), which is not exactly what Clutton describes. 

The infamous Oliver Haddo, the magician in the novel, is generally agreed to have been based on Aleister Crowley, and we have the following corroboration from Arnold Bennett: “I dined at Chat Blanc. Aleister Crowley was there with dirty hands, immense rings, presumably dyed hair, a fancy waistcoat, a fur coat, and tennis shoes” (in his private journal, March 9 1905). In fact, Rogal writes that Maugham met Crowley at Chat Blanc in 1904 [2]