W. Somerset Maugham Writing Styles in Cakes and Ale: Or the Skeleton in the Cupboard

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Point of View

In Cakes and Ale, W. Somerset Maugham creates a alter ego, William Ashenden to reflect on the nature and course of literary fame. The novel is entirely told in the first person singular past tense. Chapter sixteen is entirely devoted to William contemplating why authors write in the first person, which can be heroic, humorous, or charming—unless one is describing the actions of a "plain damned fool." Going through a number of authorities, he decides it is a function of age: one begins to write only about what one has experienced, and the first person is useful for this.

Maugham denies in the preface to his 1950 edition of his 1930 classic (his favorite work) that he bases Edward (Ted) Driffield on the recently deceased novelist Thomas Hardy, despite some similarities; Maugham had often thought about eminent authors receiving homage and wondered how they might look...

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This section contains 1,637 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Cakes and Ale: Or the Skeleton in the Cupboard Study Guide
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