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United States: Essays 1952-1992 Chapter Summary & Analysis - "Maugham's Half & Half" (1990) Summary

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"Maugham's Half & Half" (1990) Summary and Analysis

Calling him "the old fruitcake" who was the premier English storyteller of his age, Vidal looks at the life and career of W. Somerset Maugham as seen through the prism of a just-published biography written by Robert Calder, a Saskatchewan schoolteacher. The title of his essay derives from Vidal's estimation of Maugham's work as half trash, half literature. Vidal acknowledges Maugham's ubiquity in films and novels of the 1930s and 1940s, and "he dominated the movies when movies were the lingua franca of the world."

Vidal describes a "mysterious self-pity" that followed Maugham throughout his life, coming to "a rather ghastly flowering in Of Human Bondage. Despite the fact Maugham was well-placed (his father was a lawyer attached to the British embassy in Paris, his mother a popular...

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This section contains 502 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our United States: Essays 1952-1992 Study Guide
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United States: Essays 1952-1992 from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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