The Magician eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about The Magician.

Title:  The Magician

Author:  Somerset Maugham

Release Date:  December 4, 2004 [EBook #14257]

Language:  English

Character set encoding:  ASCII

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The Magician

A novel By Somerset Maugham

Together with A fragment of autobiography



In 1897, after spending five years at St Thomas’s Hospital I passed the examinations which enabled me to practise medicine.  While still a medical student I had published a novel called Liza of Lambeth which caused a mild sensation, and on the strength of that I rashly decided to abandon doctoring and earn my living as a writer; so, as soon as I was ‘qualified’, I set out for Spain and spent the best part of a year in Seville.  I amused myself hugely and wrote a bad novel.  Then I returned to London and, with a friend of my own age, took and furnished a small flat near Victoria Station.  A maid of all work cooked for us and kept the flat neat and tidy.  My friend was at the Bar, and so I had the day (and the flat) to myself and my work.  During the next six years I wrote several novels and a number of plays.  Only one of these novels had any success, but even that failed to make the stir that my first one had made.  I could get no manager to take my plays.  At last, in desperation, I sent one, which I called A Man of Honour, to the Stage Society, which gave two performances, one on Sunday night, another on Monday afternoon, of plays which, unsuitable for the commercial theatre, were considered of sufficient merit to please an intellectual audience.  As every one knows, it was the Stage Society that produced the early plays of Bernard Shaw.  The committee accepted A Man of Honour, and W.L.  Courtney, who was a member of it, thought well enough of my crude play to publish it in The Fortnightly Review, of which he was then editor.  It was a feather in my cap.

Though these efforts of mine brought me very little money, they attracted not a little attention, and I made friends.  I was looked upon as a promising young writer and, I think I may say it without vanity, was accepted as a member of the intelligentsia, an honourable condition which, some years later, when I became a popular writer of light comedies, I lost; and have never since regained.  I was invited to literary parties and to parties given by women of rank and fashion who thought it behoved them to patronise the arts.  An unattached and fairly presentable young man is always in demand.  I lunched out and dined out.  Since I could not afford to take cabs,

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The Magician from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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