The Skeptical Romancer

The Skeptical Romancer : Selected Travel Writing

3.75 (48 ratings by Goodreads)
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W. Somerset Maugham was one of the seminal writers of the twentieth century, and his travel writing has long been considered among his finest work. Now, acclaimed travel writer Pico Iyer maps out a masterful tour of these vivid, evocative pieces that are collected here for the first time. Maugham worked as a secret agent in Russia, published novels in London, staged plays in New York, and traveled throughout Europe, Asia, India, and the United States, chronicling his travels, wherever he went, with exceptional insight. Beginning with "In the Land of the Blessed Virgin" and culminating in "A Partial View," Iyer selects vignettes of Maugham's razor-sharp prose that track his transformation from a boyish traveler in Spain to a worldly man of letters. This is Maugham at his most keenly observant, direct, and powerful.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 196 pages
  • 133 x 213 x 21mm | 381g
  • Random House Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0307272125
  • 9780307272126
  • 24,483

Table of contents

Introduction by Pico Iyer
Select Bibliography

A Very Young Traveller in Spain (from The Land of the Blessed Virgin)
The Spirit of Andalusia        
The Churches of Ronda        
The Mosque at Cordova        
The Court of Oranges         
The Giralda            
Corrida de Toros          
Wind and Storm          

Sketches of China (from On a Chinese Screen)
My Lady’s Parlour          
The Cabinet Minister         
Dinner Parties: Legation Quarter      
The Inn             
Her Britannic Majesty’s Representative    
The Last Chance          
The Song of the River         
The Stranger            
The Philosopher          
The Missionary Lady          
The Plain            
A Student of the Drama        
A City Built on a Rock         

Across Southeast Asia (from The Gentleman in the Parlour)
The Nuns at Mengon         
On the Trail            
The Salween            
The Market            
Keng Tung            
The Solitary            
The Fever            
A Last Day in Angkor         
Saigon and Tourane          
A Night on the River          
A Classmate in Haiphong        

A Life in Retrospect (from The Partial View, comprising The Summing Up and A Writer’s Notebook)
Early Travels            
At War             
The Missionary and Miss Thompson     
A Castaway            
The Nevsky Prospekt          
Opium Dream           
The Sultan            
A Dream            
The Taj             
In Texas
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Review quote

"Maugham is a great artist. . . . A genius." --Theodore Dreiser "An expert craftsman. . . . His style is sharp, quick, subdued, casual." --The New York Times "Maugham has given infinite pleasure and left us a splendour of writing which will remain for as long as the written English word is permitted to exist." --The Daily Telegraph "The modern writer who has influenced me most is Somerset Maugham." --George Orwell "Maugham remains the consummate craftsman. . . . [His prose is] so compact, so economical, so closely motivated, so skillfully written, that it rivets attention from the first page to last." --The Saturday Review of Literature "It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham. . . . He was always so entirely there." --Gore Vidal
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About W Somerset Maugham

W. Somerset Maugham, author of such novels as Cakes and Ale and Of Human Bondage, was born in 1874 and died in 1965. His books have sold nearly 40 million copies. Pico Iyer is the author of many books about travel, including Video Night in Kathmandu. His most recent book is The Open Road.
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Rating details

48 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 25% (12)
4 40% (19)
3 25% (12)
2 6% (3)
1 4% (2)
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