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Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage

Books
William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) has been always considered a scarcely original writer, with his much simple, straightforward style, always uncompromised. Maugham himself agreed he didn’t experience or risk and he really didn’t care. He was never held in higher esteem among readers like Joyce or Virginia Woolf, but around 1930 he was the most famous and the best paid in the world. Maugham was everything but a failed writer. I like this very well-known novel because a good part of the events takes place in Paris, in an effervescent artistic atmosphere during the impressionist age, when Manet’s Olympia is exhibited in the Luxembourg.  Paris is a dream destination for all those who had felt ‘the call’. The British young man, Philip Carey, is one of those people. He is born…
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One Dollar Bill

One Dollar Bill

Illustration
Unfortunately, there are so few works of American painters of the 19th century exhibited in European museums. In Madrid, there are quite few samples in the Museum Thyssen-Bornemisza. With the exception of Sargent, people barely knows the paintings by Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer or George Inness. But there is also a prejudice that these painters are merely following the styles arisen in the old continent. Obviously, many of them travelled throughout Europe and completed their training but once home they were capable to give their own works a dynamic sense typical of an emerging country. At the end of the 19th century, there were artists who were masters of the trompe l'oeil technique such as John Frederick Peto or William Michael Harnett and who arose in the United States. The…
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My Quixote

My Quixote

Illustration
There is something untouchable in the book El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha or just Don Quixote). All who have carried out further studies on the novel agree on its ineffable essence. This is so typical of all Spanish works: think of Velazquez’ paintings! Harold Bloom, states in his Western Canon that the history of literature could be summarised around the two characters, Dom Quixote and Sancho and that just three or four characters by Shakespeare are up to these standards. We have an inventory of our own, that’s why we need to include a few ones such as Ahab and Raskolnikov, Atticus Finch or Antoine Roquentin. For so many people ‘Don Quixote’ is just a funny book, starring a…
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