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The Magician: Together with a Fragment of Autobiography

3.57  ·  Rating Details ·  2,464 Ratings  ·  260 Reviews
In Paris around 1900, Arthur and Margaret are engaged to be married. Everyone approves and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Until Oliver Haddo appears. Sinister and repulsive, Haddo fascinates Margaret's spinster friend, Susie Boyd. Yet it is not Susie who ultimately falls prey to his peculiar charm. It is Margaret, and a fate worse than death awaits her in the fo ...more
Paperback, 200 pages
Published November 1st 1992 by Penguin Classics (first published 1908)
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Popular Answered Questions

McKenzie I am assuming you mean "Left Hand Path," and I found this author from the 1930's; Dennis Wheatley under a Google search of LHP.
Under Explore Tab at…more
I am assuming you mean "Left Hand Path," and I found this author from the 1930's; Dennis Wheatley under a Google search of LHP.
Under Explore Tab at top menu of screen, drop down shows Listopia where can be found under the search box entry of Occult Fiction a few Categories of relevant lists of books:
1. Gurdjieff Work in Fiction,
2. The Dennis Wheatley Library of the Occult
3. Magical Fiction For Magicians

Hope this helps.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dan Schwent
Feb 17, 2015 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Arthur Burdon is due to marry his fiance, Margaret Dauncey. The pair have the misfortune of meeting Oliver Haddo, a self-styled magician and pompous ass. When Arthur assaults Haddo, the Magician hatches a plan to ruin Arthur's life in the most insidious of ways...

The Magician is a tale of revenge, seduction, and things of that nature, written by Maugham after he met Aleister Crowley. It's pretty much a horror novel, honestly.

Oliver Haddo is a revolting character that made my skin crawl and his
...more
Trevor
Mar 01, 2008 Trevor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cat
May 18, 2014 Cat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2014, ebook
The Magician may not be Maugham's most known work, but it's my favourite so far.

Arthur and Margaret are about to marry when the sinister Oliver Haddo comes into their lives. Haddo is known for practising ocultism and to deal with the dark arts. At first, Arthur doesn't take him seriously; when strange things concerned with Margaret start taking place, Arthur is forced to realize that maybe he should have taken care not to offend the man who is known as a magician.

After having read two of Maugham
...more
Michael
Sep 07, 2015 Michael rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
IN THESE MATTERS ALL IS OBSCURITY

"If I died tomorrow, every penny I have would be yours" – so spricht Arthur, gestandener Arzt, zu seinem Mündel Margaret, und unterstützt sie zustätzlich monatlich mit einer Summe, die der jungen Frau ein sorgloses Leben in Paris ermöglicht, jener Stadt, in der auch Maugham als junger Mann sich als Bohemien versucht hat. Ach, sagte das doch auch einmal jemand zu mir, aber so etwas geschieht vorzugsweise bei Courths-Maler und eben hier bei Maugham.

Arthur und Marg
...more
nettebuecherkiste
Paris zu Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts. Der junge Chirurg Arthur Burdon besucht sein Mündel Margaret, die gleichzeitig seine Verlobte ist. Sie wohnt mit ihrer ca. 10 Jahre älteren Freundin Susie Boyd zusammen, die wie sie selbst in Paris Kunst studiert. Es herrscht heile Welt, das Paar ist glücklich, die alleinstehende Susie durch ein Erbe gut versorgt. Auftritt Oliver Haddo, ein weitgereister, arroganter Zeitgenosse, der angeblich magische Kräfte besitzt. Doch inwiefern stellt er eine Bedrohung f ...more
Ali
Jan 25, 2009 Ali rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is certainly a novel worth persevering with. The beginning is dare I say dull, and for a little while it drags, but then suddenly it develops into a truly gripping read. The awfully sinister Oliver Haddo is a sly practitioner of the occult, who appears to use his skill to ruin the lives of a couple of good and innocent souls. An excellent read.
Anushree Rastogi
Maugham's novel The Magician is an aesthetic disaster. From the fumbling realism at the beginning of the novel to the childishly Gothic fable that it turns into, the book seems to lack structure, design and well developed characters.
Maugham himself, on reading the book later, described it as “lush and turgid.” Cluttered with adjectives, the writing, bordering on being kitschy, does little to gloss over a story that is formulaic and shallow.
The plot is facile and it is no surprise that it was m
...more
Alexandra
Mit Freude habe ich dieses Buch in einer Lesegruppe begonnen, soll die Hauptfigur ja dem legendären und spannenden Aleister Crowley nachgezeichnet sein. Nach Beendigung der Lektüre bin ich mehr als enttäuscht und muss mir hier durchaus den Hinweis verkneifen, der sicher als goldene Regel jedem Jungautor auf dem Weg mitgegeben wird: "Junge schreib über Sachen, die Du verstehst bzw. die Du selbst erlebt hast."

Die Hauptakteure erinnern fast ein bisschen an Dostojewskis Adeligensalons - Bürgerliche,
...more
Liz Janet
Sep 22, 2014 Liz Janet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
“Yet magic is no more the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects. Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses; and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician. Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.”
I think this is my favourite Maugham, a book about the creepy figure that was Oliver Haddo aka Aleister Crowley, in the early 1900's, between London and Paris.( Also, am I the
...more
Benjamin Duffy
Aug 21, 2011 Benjamin Duffy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books
What a surprising, interesting book. After reading all of W. Somerset Maugham's most celebrated works several times over, and delving eagerly into his lesser-known (though not necessarily lesser in quality) material afterwards, this is the first one to completely surprise me.

The book is preceded, happily, by a foreword, "The Fragment of Autobiography," in which Maugham admits that the character of Oliver Haddo is indeed based on Aleister Crowley. He pulls no punches in his assessment of the real
...more
Laura
Apr 16, 2014 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has a very slow start but then picks up into something horrifying. I just wanted it all to be over. It's so dark and freaky. The descriptions have you holding your breathe for it to end quickly. If you like horror then highly recommend. If you are squeamish then may not be of your liking. First time reading this author and he can make your skin crawl. One of the nastiest antagonist in literature.
Ms.pegasus
Jul 20, 2016 Ms.pegasus rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: local book club selection
Shelves: fiction
As I read this book, published in 1908, I was reminded of Bram Stoker's DRACULA (1897). Both feature victimized young women made sympathetic by their Victorian perfection: demure, passive and virtuous. Both feature an evil entity with hypnotic powers applied to arouse dangerous sexual appetites.

Unlike Stoker's book, THE MAGICIAN's plot moves forward at a lugubrious pace. The first quarter of the book is devoted to introducing a number of less than riveting characters. Margaret Dauncey is engage
...more
Joseph Grinton
Maugham's caricature of Aleister Crowley (Oliver Haddo) is brilliant and, no doubt, accurate. Maugham says in his preface that Crowley recognised himself. I'm sure he did. He was probably even flattered in spite of Maugham's blatantly unflattering portrait. Maugham says he never read the review by 'Oliver Haddo' (Aleister Crowley) in Vanity Fair and wishes he had. I have read it and enjoyed it immensely. I love it when two very smart men clash. Maugham has definitely researched his subject and g ...more
Marts  (Thinker)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura
I adored this book. I could visualize every scene and when you realize that Maugham had actually lived with Aleister Crowley it makes the book even more terrifying. The scene toward the end of the book with the hommunculi was completely prescient. It perfectly predicted our fears of human clones.
Armin Hennig
Jun 30, 2015 Armin Hennig rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Kein Schriftsteller beherrschte sein Handwerk besser steht auf der Rückseite meine Ausgabe, die in der Bibliothek der Süddeutschen Zeitung erschienen ist. Allerdings meinte Raymond Chandler damit sicherlich nicht den Verfasser des Magiers, denn diese von ein paar schwächlichen eigenen Einfällen zusammengehaltene Montage taugt nicht einmal als Gesellenstück und verhält sich zu seinen späteren Romanen wie Haddos Homunculi zu echten Menschen. Im Hinblick auf das Gesamtwerk gibt es zwar gewisse stru ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
There was a little more bizarre than what I expected from Maugham. I wish I had read this at Halloween. The villain is absolutely repulsive.
Tim Pendry
The Penguin edition is not being reviewed here. This is the Vintage Edition. The only difference in practice is that this does not have Calder’s introduction but has a short and somewhat languid autobiographical sketch from Maugham himself.

Written around 1907 before he began to make serious money as a playwright, this exhibits all the strengths and weaknesses of Maugham.

The strengths are (in general and allowing for a few moments where he shifts in to the purple-conventional) his exceptional abi
...more
Laura
Free download available at Project Gutenberg

An astonishing gothic story written by Somerset Maugham.

Location 122:
Dr Porhöet knew that a diversity of interests, though it adds charm to a mans personality, tends to weaken him.

Location 140:
One of my cherished ideas is that it is impossible to love without imagination.

Location 277:
She had learnt long ago that common sense, intelligence, good-nature, and strenght of character were unimportant in comparison with a pretty face.

Location 384:
I shall not
...more
Tom
"The Magician" is a captivating story.

Margaret is engaged to Arthur, a well-off English surgeon. Margaret shares a Paris flat with Susie. One evening, they meet Oliver Haddo, a very large, very odd man, around whom the most unusual stories swarm.

Basically, Oliver is a magician, who uses his powers to lure Margaret away from Arthur, which pisses everyone off, and leads to a showdown.

When "The Magician" was published, Aleister Crowley wrote a review, contending that Maugham had plagiarized the st
...more
Elizabeth
May 30, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was so worth reading, flawed as it is, in order to get a glimpse into a historic moment when neo-Jeckyll-Hyde-ish sciencey ghost stories were so popular that a writer wishing to "sell out" would choose the Victorian culture surrounding the idea one can manipulate soul/spirit/science for genre/setting. S Maugham does a fine job impersonating any genre, even if it's not the one he writes in most authentically. Also to see Maugham's span, between this v early book and, say, Razor's Edge, is to ...more
Kaloyana
Mar 04, 2013 Kaloyana rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Не съм доволна от тази история на Моъм. Един магьосник прави експерименти за създаване на хора. За целта прецаква всичко живо по пътя си. Доста противни неща имаше и като цяло не беше интересно, нито силно психологическо. Силата на Моъм е в историите, където може много да се научи за взаимоотношенията между хората в различни житейски етапи и ситуации. Това ми липсваше. И макар да не е съвсем зле тази книга ѝ давам 2 звездички, защото Моъм винаги ме е карал да немея и да го чета с кеф и нетърпени ...more
Andy
Dec 04, 2009 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, a rabbit doesn't get pulled out of a hat and there are no gay German couples making white tigers disappear, in fact there's more occult and psychic phenomena at play than magic. Nevertheless, this book is delightful in a creepy Jekyll & Hyde-Invisible Man way. I think this would have made a great Universal Pictures horror film in the Thirties in it's own wickedly lurid way. A fun read and catch it before Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan ruin it with their pretentiousness.
David Corvine
I hadn't read this for some time, on this latest reading I have downgraded it to 2 stars. It's really just a piece of poor Victorian Gothic horror. Perhaps Maugham was amusing himself. It could be considered a piece of camp humour in the vein of the Hammer House and Carry On films.
Justcynthia
Aug 14, 2013 Justcynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book that has it all: romance, suspense, humor, and intrigue set against the backdrop of Paris and London.
Sye
Sep 16, 2008 Sye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
W. Somerset Maugham is consistently one of the most fascinating writers I've ever read.
Michael
Written towards the beginning of his career, ‘The Magician’ has not earned W. Somerset Maugham the canonical status of ‘Collected Short Stories’ or his Gauguin novel ‘The Moon and Sixpence’. A short but intense work with a gothic character that slips too often into melodrama, ‘The Magician’ reminds of Stoker and Mary Shelley, albeit without the originality or substance.

Its novelty lies in its main antagonist, the magician Oliver Haddo. One of the earliest in a genre of caricatures on the life o
...more
Caglar Koca
The Magician is one of Maugham's early works. Even though it contains some marvelous features of Maugham, it stands away from most of his other works. The descriptive language that marks Maugham's style is as good as any other of his books. In fact, by choosing a doctor as his protagonist, he achieves a higher level in vivid descriptions. (view spoiler) ...more
Steve Dewey
Apr 04, 2013 Steve Dewey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, fiction, maugham
The Magician describes the relationships between two women and a man, and how these relationships are affected by their meeting with the magician of the title.

Margaret and Susie share rooms in Paris. Arthur Burdon is Margaret's fiance. Burdon is a renowned surgeon; his mentor is the retired doctor and occult scholar Dr. Porhoët. Porhoët introduces Oliver Haddo to his friends; Haddo is an occultist, a magician - loosely based on Aleister Crowley, "the wickedest man in the world", whom Maugham ha
...more
Joel
Oct 09, 2015 Joel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my favorite book of Maugham's (and I've read quite a few). So I'm not blogging about it, but leaving this for posterity. I would like to have chatted with Maugham while he was writing this. It is so different from his other books - which are internationalist but not pretentiously so, and whose heroes and villains are real people not cartoons. In this book Maugham goes in a different direction. Its a story about a Magician (but a better title would have been "The Necromancer" because ...more
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William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage, Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he almost l
...more
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“Yet magic is no more the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects. Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses; and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician. Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.” 12 likes
“He was no longer the awkward man of social intercourse, who was sufficiently conscious of his limitations not to talk of what he did not understand, and sincere enough not to express admiration for what he did not like.” 1 likes
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