Wednesday, 29 July 2015

W. Somerset Maugham in Lilliput - March 1938

Lilliput Magazine, Mar. 1938 - W. Somerset Maugham
Lilliput, Mar. 1938
W. Somerset Maugham

Lilliput. The Pocket Magazine for Everyone 2.3 (Mar. 1938).


A few days ago, when I received a tiny padded A5 envelope I was not certain what it contained. I had been ordering some books and magazines; a few came in huge boxes stuffed with newspapers or foam peanuts, but I was not expecting anything so small.

A magazine it was. I was a bit surprised by its size, in contrast with its contemporaries that I usually get. I looked eagerly for the Maugham reference, and there it was.

W. Somerset Maugham in Lilliput
The Summing Up - Lilliput


Maugham was introduced as:
outstanding English man of letters, has embodied the conclusions of a lifetime spent in observing his fellow men in his latest book, "The Summing Up," which has been published by Heinemann.

Late in 2013, I came across an article in The Saturday Review published on 29 January 1938, titled "The Professional Writer," which is an extract from The Summing Up and likely to be for promotional purpose of the book that came out on 6 January. Stott mistakably recorded it as printed in 1939. [Although I may appear to be rubbing my hands whenever I find a fault in Stott, I assure you that I am not. This is the one book that you should have if you are serious about collecting Maugham or his bibliography.]

Naturally one would expect more advertising campaign for the book. There is just one such in Lilliput, not recorded in Stott.

Lilliput


How I Carry My Baby - Lilliput Magazine, Mar 1938
How I Carry My Baby - Lilliput, Mar 1938

Lilliput turns out to be a fascinating magazine. It came into being with the intention to provide intelligent entertainment for all, but a few years into its release it assumed the role to distract soldiers and civilians alike in WWII, with photos, cartoons, and humorous writings (Stove, Judy. "An Air Raid Siren For the Left." New Criterion 24.1 (2005): 93–95). Its small size must have made it perfect to fit in trench coats, or any coat for that matter when one rushed to a bomb shelter. Its first issue was in July 1937 and changed hands shortly afterwards. The issue that I have was still edited by its founder, Stefan Lorant. Slowly it became known for its female nudes and eventually merged with Men Only. As the name luridly suggests, it definitely contains something more daring.

Pre-Photo Booth - Lilliput Magazine Mar 1938
Pre-Photo Booth
Lilliput Mar 1938

Back in 1938, there was only one photo with a clotheless female on a swing (no, don't get too excited; you don't see much by modern standard) and a man sticking out his tongue to French-kiss a serpent (okay, that's out of context; I assure you it was purely for satirical purpose).

The Man and the Sea Lion - Lilliput Magazine Mar. 1938
The Man and the Sea Lion - Lilliput Mar. 1938

One curious information I found is about the covers, designed by Walter Trier until 1949, with his signature couple and a black terrier, his dog that was killed by a tram (Fisher, Barbara. "Lilliput Magazines." March House Books, 20 Feb. 2012. Web. 29 Jul. 2015).

Tic-Tac Men & Hitler - Lilliput Magazine Mar. 1938
Tic-Tac Men & Hitler - Lilliput Mar. 1938

I started, after satisfying my curiosity about the piece on Maugham, browsing the little magazine. The photos, humorous from clever juxtapositions, made me read on. Very soon I was all a-shaking in bed. I do not think Swift would be ashamed of it.

Trotsky & Stalin - Lilliput Magazine Mar. 1938
Trotsky & Stalin - Lilliput Mar. 1938

Besides Maugham, André Maurois was also a contributor, whose books Maugham had at least two in his keeping. The rest ranges from advising a French statesman what English habits to look out for to investigating how much authors earned throughout the ages to measuring garbage disposal to reading Macbeth as a detective novel.

I had a capital time reading it, which I assume some soldiers too found solace forgetting about duties and danger with this sturdy thick-papered little book, laughed a few, missèd home.

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How to cite this:


More about Lilliput
"Walter Trier’s Lilliput Covers." Art Gallery of Ontario. Web. 29 Jul. 2015. - Interesting this is an exhibition that is currently on
"Lilliput (magazine)." Wikipedia. Web. 29 Jul. 2015.


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