Excerpt from “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham ~~Art~~

picture-OfHumanBondage-MaughamPhilip went out and wondered what he should do with himself till dinner. He was eager to do something characteristic. Absinthe! Of course it was indicated, and so, sauntering towards the station, he seated himself outside a cafe and ordered it. He drank with nausea and satisfaction. He found the taste disgusting, but the moral effect magnificent; he felt every inch an art-student; and since he drank on an empty stomach his spirits presently grew very high. He watched the crowds, and felt all men were his brothers. He was happy. When he reached Gravier’s the table at which Clutton sat was full, but as soon as he saw Philip limping along he called out to him. They made room. The dinner was frugal, a plate of soup, a dish of meat, fruit, cheese, and half a bottle of wine; but Philip paid no attention to what he ate. He took note of the men at the table. Flanagan was there again: he was an American, a short, snub-nosed youth with a jolly face and a laughing mouth. He wore a Norfolk jacket of bold pattern, a blue stock round his neck, and a tweed cap of fantastic shape. At that time impressionism reigned in the Latin Quarter, but its victory over the older schools was still recent; and Carolus-Duran, Bouguereau, and their like were set up against Manet, Monet, and Degas. To appreciate these was still a sign of grace. Whistler was an influence strong with the English and his compatriots, and the discerning collected Japanese prints. The old masters were tested by new standards. The esteem in which Raphael had been for centuries held was a matter of derision to wise young men. They offered to give all his works for Velasquez’ head of Philip IV in the National Gallery. Philip found that a discussion on art was raging.

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1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “Of Human Bondage” by W. Somerset Maugham ~~Art~~

  1. W. Somerset Maugham was born at the UK Embassy in Paris, France on 25 January 1874, and died on 16 December 1965, aged 91 years.
    ‘Of Human Bondage’ was published in 1915.

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