W. Somerset Maugham: Cakes and Ale (2055 words)


Cakes and Ale: or The Skeleton in the Cupboard (1930) is W. Somerset Maugham’s most amusing novel, and one of the finest satires ever written on the subject of literary celebrity. It is also notable for its ingeniously time-shifting narrative construction and for containing Maugham’s warmest portrayal of a female character. It landed Maugham in some controversy upon its first publication, but soon became a favourite among his books, both for his huge international readership and for the author himself. Its narrative is an exercise in first-person retrospect, the narrator being William Ashenden, a successful Maugham-like writer of novels and plays, previously introduced as the protagonist, although not narrator, of …

Citation: Baldick, Chris. "Cakes and Ale". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 June 2020 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=11445, accessed 22 January 2021.]

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