Mrs Craddock (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)

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9780140185942: Mrs Craddock (Classic, 20th-Century, Penguin)

"Love" wrote George Meredith in "The Tragic Comedians":

'May be celestial fire before it enters the system of mortals. It will then take the character of its place of abode.'

W. Somerset Maugham's story is about a girl, young, well-born, imaginative, romantic and clever with "full red lips almost passionately sensual" marries a commonplace Philistine with broad shoulders and the heartiness and intolerant joviality of the prosperous farmer. The man is not a gentleman. There is nothing between the two except the fierce sexual attraction which she feels for him. "Love to her was a burning fire, a flame that absorbed the rest of life; love to him was a convenient and necessary institution of Providence, a matter about which there was as little need for excitement as about the ordering of a suit of clothes."

This is the tragedy of Mrs. Craddock. Disillusion comes, and with it a feeling of contempt, akin to hatred, of the man to whom she is oppressed by, which alternates with fleeting fits of passionate desire. His strong body still appeals to her after she has learnt to hate his placid mind and heartless soul. There is a rugged strength about this work, a faithfulness to life, which make us almost forgive a certain coarseness of conception and expression that seems inevitable with the modern realist. The artistic finish with the crude trick by which the author, conveniently kills off Mr. Craddock is quite in keeping with the treatment of the earlier portions of the book. The neurotic elements in Mrs. Craddock's temperament are cleverly suggested, and in Miss Ley, an outspoken old maid with a taste for epigrams and Continental travels, the author has successfully created wonderful characters who will live in the memory of readers long after the book is finished.

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From the Inside Flap:

A young woman, carried away by passion, sees a chance to escape a dull life and to experience true love. But she discovers that little in her marriage to the dutiful and sensible Edward meets her expectations. And as passion dies, she finds herself trapped in a loveless, oppressive marriage.

About the Author:

William Somerset Maugham was an English author, playwright, and doctor best known for the semi-autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage. Orphaned at a young age, Maugham was raised, unhappily, by his uncle, who urged him into a medical career despite his talent and interest in writing. Maugham gave up his career in medicine after his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, sold out its initial printing in several weeks, and next ventured into playwriting with Lady Frederick, which was such a success that by the following year Maugham had four plays running simultaneously. Maugham worked for the British Secret Service during the First World War, travelling all over the world before making his home in the south of France after Second World War and using his experiences as inspiration for new stories. Before his death in 1965, Maugham published many more successful novels including The Letter and The Razor s Edge, both of which were adapted into feature films. Maugham has been remembered as one of the most influential and successful writers of his era, and is believed to have been the highest paid author of the 1930s.

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W. Somerset Maugham
Published by Penguin Classics (1992)
ISBN 10: 0140185941 ISBN 13: 9780140185942
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W. Somerset Maugham
Published by Penguin Classics (1992)
ISBN 10: 0140185941 ISBN 13: 9780140185942
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