[ilds] who am I to argue with a knight?

Charles Sligh Charles-Sligh at utc.edu
Tue May 12 05:34:57 PDT 2009


Sumantra Nag wrote:

>  Thank you very much Charles. I've posted the relevant Weblink for the
>  text from Maugham as you may have seen, so you can see that whenever
>  you want to. Somerset Maugham was a visitor to Alexandria and
>  resident at the Cecil Hotel.

Thanks, Sumantra.  I did read the chapter when you sent it.  Very
interesting.

My first reaction regards the manifest difference in vision that Maugham
and Durrell have in their fictional worlds. 

Maugham is clearly a moralist when contrasted with Durrell.   The 
contrast between Abraham's
decision to stay in Alex and the other doctor's decision to stay in
London is obviously playing up a contrast between values and
worldviews. 

The narrator's last  quip about "a knight" underscores
that. 

>  "Of course it would be hypocritical for me to pretend that I regret
>  what Abraham did. After all, I've scored by it." He puffed
>  luxuriously at the long Corona he was smoking. "But if I weren't
>  personally concerned I should be sorry at the waste. It seems a
>  rotten thing that a man should make such a hash of life."
>
>  I wondered if Abraham really had made a hash of life. Is to do what
>  you most want, to live under the conditions that please you, in peace
>  with yourself, to make a hash of life; and is it success to be an
>  eminent surgeon with ten thousand a year and a beautiful wife? I
>  suppose it depends on what meaning you attach to life, the claim
>  which you acknowledge to society, and the claim of the individual.
>  But again I held my tongue, for who am I to argue with a knight?

http://maugham.thefreelibrary.com/Moon-and-Sixpence/50-1

Durrell would not have been that clear-cut.

What do you think?

CLS

-- 
********************************************
Charles L. Sligh
Assistant Professor
Department of English
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
charles-sligh at utc.edu
********************************************



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