Maugham’s The Moon and Sixpence

A review of Somerset Maugham’s 1919 novel about an artist in exile.

This paper presents a brief review of `The Moon and Sixpence`, by Somerset Maugham, which tells the story about Charles Strickland, an artist who leaves his home and travels to live in the islands. The paper shows how Maugham’s novel is similar to the life story of French painter, Paul Gauguin.
However, unlike his character narrator, Maugham did understand and appreciate art. The story’s narrator struggled in vain to translate Strickland’s work, his expression of truth, into language (Macey pg). In a 1919 review of Maugham’s novel, Maxwell Anderson wrote that the title was an admission by Somerset Maugham that explaining genius is as impossible as expressing moonlight in terms of the decimal system (Macey pg).