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June 2010
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August 2010

Book Review - The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham - By Selina Hastings -

“Shy” is a peculiar adjective to use to describe blackmail, which was, as Selina Hastings makes clear in her biography, “The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham,” Robin’s intention. Himself homosexual, Robin had been privy to Maugham’s erotic and emotional involvements with other men since he was a teenager, and might well have been the object of more than avuncular interest on Maugham’s part. (“I’m not saying I think there was incest,” ­Glenway Wescott recalled, “but Willie was infatuated with Robin.”) Nor was Robin’s word to be trusted. Ten years later, in a memoir entitled “Escape From the Shadows,” he quoted his uncle as saying, “I tried to persuade myself that I was three-­quarters normal and that only a quarter of me was queer — whereas really it was the other way round.” Fifty thousand dollars, though enough to keep Robin quiet for Maugham’s lifetime, was not enough to keep him quiet after his death.


Book Review - A Great Unrecorded History - A New Life of E. M. Forster - By Wendy Moffat -

Edward Morgan Forster was born in 1879. Since his father died soon after his birth, he was brought up by his difficult and demanding mother, with whom he lived much of the time until her death in 1945. Between 1905 and 1924, Forster published five novels, most notably “Howards End” and “A Passage to India.” For the following 46 years, however, until his death in 1970, he wrote no more novels, merely a few short biographies, some essays and literary journalism.