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The Magician

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3.59  ·  Rating details ·  3,570 ratings  ·  392 reviews
Maugham’s enchanting tale of secrets and fatal attraction The Magician is one of Somerset Maugham’s most complex and perceptive novels. Running through it is the theme of evil, deftly woven into a story as memorable for its action as for its astonishingly vivid set of characters. In fin de siecle Paris, Arthur and Margaret are engaged to be married. Everyone approves and e ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 27th 2007 by Penguin Classics (first published 1908)
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Heather Dawn Stowell 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 t…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)

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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Dan Schwent
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Chrissie
This reads as a Gothic horror story, and it grabbed me--which is totally amazing! Books of this genre are not ones that normally attract me. I do not regret reading it. Proof is in the fact that the last three hours of it I spent glued to my seat. If Gothic horror stories are your cup of tea, grab it immediately; I guarantee you will not be disappointed. While I was listening, I was totally enthralled. While I was listening, I thought I would give it four stars. Only when completed was I release ...more
Brett C
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a strange and yet entertaining story. This story is not based off traditional witchcraft but gets more into the shadowy and occult black arts.

It started out with ordinary people with ordinary lives for the time period until the mysterious Oliver Haddo comes into their lives. Doctor Arthur Burdon, a renowned English surgeon, has a normal life with plans of marrying the love of his life, Margret. Things start to get weird after they encounter Oliver Haddo, a self-proclaimed magician and
...more
Susan
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1908, this was W. Somerset Maugham’s last novel for seven years, as he devoted himself to writing for the theatre. The rest obviously did him good, as he returned with the classic, “Of Human Bondage,” but this is an interesting, and lesser known, novel. It was inspired by meeting Alastair Crowley in Paris, who became the character, ‘Oliver Haddo.’ Crowley himself responded to Maugham’s interpretation of his character with a wry magazine article, “How to Write a Novel!” which h ...more
Tim
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a rather strange, but fascinating little book. Despite the short length (196 on my edition) it feels almost like two separate books It starts off as something like a comedy of errors, then slowly becomes more sinister until it becomes a flat out horror novel.

The story focuses on a couple that meet a claimed magician named Oliver Haddo. Our magician is boastful, seemingly has a story for every scenario (which will of course make him sound amazing) and has a bit of a sense of humor. There’
...more
Nancy Oakes
Sep 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Magician has so many of those elements that send my little dark-fiction reader heart racing, among them pulpy mysterious melodrama, a bit of decadence, and of course the dark forces of the occult and the supernatural. At its heart though, it is a story of revenge plotted by a most sinister villain, the "Magician" Oliver Haddo, and the race to save young Margaret Dauncey, the woman at the center of it all.

for plot details etc., you can go to my reading journal: http://www.oddlyweirdfiction.c
...more
Trevor
Mar 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anushree Rastogi
May 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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 man´s 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
Roman Clodia
Jul 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Well, this is a departure from the Somerset Maugham I’m more familiar with – a Gothic fantasia set in Paris, this falls neatly into two halves. The first drags a bit and we’re not quite sure where the plot is going, but once Oliver Haddo, the eponymous magician and all-round grossly repulsive figure, has been insulted and sets out on a plan for revenge that also neatly provides the material for his horrible experiments, the pages race by.

A bit Dracula with the uses made of female sexuality, and
...more
Cat
May 18, 2014 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
Nigeyb
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I raced through this. Less from enjoyment and more because I wasn’t in the mood for it, so perhaps it was a case of right book wrong timing.

I’ve enjoyed many other books by WSM, but this one felt overly melodramatic.

The drift into gothic horror in the last section felt incongruous.

I was hoping for some insights into Aleister Crowley however his character was quite cartoonish.

Interestingly WSM, on reading it 50 years later, found the writing "lush and turgid". I agree.

Fine, but not up there
...more
Benjamin Duffy
Aug 21, 2011 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
Ali
Jan 25, 2009 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.
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.
Paul Christensen
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels-and-sagas
Atmospheric horror story whose villain is a caricature of Crowley. Very readable, page-turning.
Ms.pegasus
Jul 20, 2016 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
James Hartley
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good easy gothic read - great for its age - whose main character is a portrait of Oliver Crowley. Although not as accomplished as Maugham's later novels, it's a well-written, well-plotted read which builds to a good-ole potboiler of a conclusion. Reminded me a bit of "The Razor's Edge", which I read years ago, in that it treats themes which would have been important to Maugham as a young man travelling. The Kindle edition was great.
Osiris Oliphant
2001-07-20
Please introduce yourself, Mister Haddo!
The rabid results of a charlatan's inkling of matters occultic, and a young impressionable literary aspirant's efforts to champion intellectual Parisian bohemianism vivdly evokes the wondrous conversations he smuggled out of the "Le Chat Blanc", a philosophical refuge for learned gents on the Rue d'Odessa in Paris circa the 1900's, here fictionalized & crowned "Chien Noir" in this intriguing & evocative novel. "Oliver Haddo", the sinister & most
...more
Liz Janet
Sep 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
“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
Laura
Apr 16, 2014 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.
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)
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Margaret
This is all melodrama, little characterization, and overwritten (which Maugham himself acknowledges in his introduction). There's magnetism to the title character, based on Aleister Crowley, but the other characters are so cardboardish that I didn't much care what happened to them.
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.
Chris
Somerset Maugham is one of my favorite authors and I really don't understand why he is not more widely read. My father always told me to read him. I have in my book collection a very old collection of his short stories that I got from my mother. Their generation appreciated him and I have heard that he was immensely popular in the 30's and 40's. Why not so much any more? "The Razor's Edge" is every bit as good as "The Sun Also Rises" and more complex. "Of Human Bondage" is a masterpiece. His sho ...more
Joseph Sciuto
Mar 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
W. Somerset Maugham's "The Magician" starts off slowly, leaden with plenty of ancient Greek and latin phrases, but after this short introduction this story moves like an out-of-control freight train.
To say that it is gripping would be an understatement. It is fascinating and engrossing, pitting science against black magic, good against evil, and the egocentric nature of certain men to believe that they possess the power of Gods.

The character of Oliver Haddo, an extremely obese and ever growing i
...more
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
Nadia
Jun 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Some people, by the pursuit of science, are impressed with the dignity of man, but I was only made conscious of his insignificance."

The Magician is quite a peculiar novel, different from the others I've read by Maugham (however many of the themes explored in his other novels are present here too). We follow a couple, Margaret and Arthur, living and navigating through higher class cafés and homes in Paris and London. A setting so typical for Maugham, who was born and grew up in Paris, and later
...more
H.E. Bulstrode
Aleister Crowley’s Corpulent Alter Ego
Maugham’s occult novel The Magician opens in the Paris of La Belle Époque, a place of light and gaiety where, none the less, it would seem, shadows still lurked, with the shadow in this particular instance being cast by the increasingly corpulent bulk of Oliver Haddo. With speech as ponderous and weighty as his physical form, Haddo, the eponymous magician of this tale, with his tall stories and florid speech, comes across as a more sinister cousin of Withnai
...more
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Reading the 20th ...: The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham (August 2018) 70 28 Nov 26, 2018 06:52PM  

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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.” 15 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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