How a world-famous novel was sprung from Yemassee, SC | Columnists

The cold moment of October rises down, my mind turns to another page. By this I mean that I am ready to break out in a sweat and sit on a chair reading the meat.

This year, just walking around a bit without using the gym, I’m more than willing to go to an unfamiliar place, perhaps the length of a book itself.

And that’s when life began to depend on art.

The art in question was “The Razor’s Edge,” by W. Somerset Maugham’s 1944 world burner, a life research book, about a man named Larry Darrell. A former American soldier, striving to find work and wealth instead of pursuing spiritual wisdom, even as far as India. The chapter mentions another verse in the Katha Upanishad that compares the escape route to the sharp edge of a razor blade.

Somerset Maugham writes in his apartment built by publisher Nelson Doubleday during World War II. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

Bill Murray’s volunteers may have realized that I was copying a 1984 video that Murray had written and recorded in it, which came from the first book of 1946. In order for Columbia to approve the project, Murray reportedly agreed to sing in “Ghostbusters.”

As it happens, Maugham wraps his wand around the west, question-street in the street. She lost her pen and meditation in a small apartment in Yemassee, South Carolina.

Learning more about the well-known interest of a British writer from Carolina who travels – via the French Riviera – seems like a good way to escape to the shelter and stay home. So I went down to Yemassee and looked for anything that went down to strengthen my writing spirits.

It expands to the south

Walking down the ACE Basin from Charleston, a clear dry day highlighted the subtle shades of Lowcountry in the spring, its golden waterfalls and melted oak. Obviously, it was just a love affair adorned with moss and outdoor attractions that in the 1930s are known to attract New Yorkers in many ways, who also ask friends to take Amtrak to Yemassee Station in the fields that turned into hunting grounds and entertainment.

The place is still bucolic and posh, a property complex that moves its space among the minority owners, redesigned to sell or add as suits, which makes wildlife lovers happy.


Somerset Maugham lives along the Combahee River at the Nelson Doubleday Libraries in Yemassee. Maugham remained there for the second time in a row after fleeing France. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

Behind the long-eye fence, Bonny Hall Plantation is as bright, successful and intelligent as it was in the days of the purchase and dissemination of Nelson Doubleday’s scion.

Along the way, Auldbrass, a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright, is now Hollywood producer Joel Silver. It prides itself on more than its zebras that feed and new habitats.

Along the way, a page known for “Forrest Gump” appears.

Parker Boat

Then there is Parker Boat. Surprisingly, I put myself in the story of what Maugham settled in South Carolina and sent a message to. The writer had, after all, cast himself into “The Razor’s Edge,” through a famous British historian who was well versed in the thoughts and actions of others.

A life-style plot is also involved. In this book, art seller Elliott Templeton offers the author the opportunity to join his family in Chicago. Among them is his brother-in-law, Larry Darrell, whose disagreement on the way he expected to handle the case.


Oak trees cover the area near the old Somerset Maugham building. Publisher Nelson Doubleday built Maugham a small bungalow in his native Yemassee during World War II, after the author fled France. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

In the same vein I ordered my heritage at Parker Ferry through an art dealer, Rob Hicklin, who works on art related to South America. In 2009, he and his wife Jane bought a 195-acre property that includes a large Maugham mansion and rented house, which a few decades ago sold to Bonny Hall.

In 1941, Maugham moved temporarily from Villa La Mauresque, his hometown of Cap-Ferrat, to escape the war. It was at the behest of his publisher, Nelson Doubleday, and Doubleday’s wife, Ellen, who volunteered to build a large house and a Bonny Hall for “Willie,” as Maugham became known.

In “Remembering Mr. Maugham,” playwright Garson Kanin (who was the husband of Ruth Gordon) records the writings of his ex-girlfriend, who was in his 60’s when he arrived at Parker Ferry.

Distributed in June 1941, “WSM informs friends that the Doubledays will build houses on their premises … In any case, it is important to know that they are in good condition.


A photo showing the first house Somerset Maugham occupied during World War II. Maugham occupied the Yemassee printery of Nelson Doubleday in World War II. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

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The story of Ted Morgan “Maugham” agrees with this, through American author Glenway Wescott who went to Parker’s Ferry. “Several times Maugham had strange guests … some of them were in uniform. When Wescott inquired about the visit, Maugham explained that he had not been sent to America to speak and work for British Intelligence and to explain to his fellow citizens.”

From the days when Maugham lived there, a large bungalow has grown, adding a second room and building the first one. The lava is now on the side, which twice a day fills up with water from the river. Hicklins also installed windows for the Maugham library, which now houses frames and other vendor needs.

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“He didn’t want the windows in this house because his mind was distracted,” Hicklin said.

Kanin’s book shares that Maugham was no stranger to his new tricks, understood by Ellen Doubleday. He described another booth for writing, saying that “the writer must flee from the noise of possible cleaners.”


Rob Hicklin, who performs paintings by American South, opens the door to a Somerset Maugham inscription in Yemassee. Publisher Nelson Doubleday built a small house for Maugham during his stay in France during World War II. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

The ornaments were minimal, according to Kanin’s writings. “They’re always talking to her and saying she’ll give them the plans, using Macy’s. She explains that she’s more concerned with speed than decoration; and, that she’s made one perfect house and I don’t want to try anything like this here. We should have a chance to use it. where they can live and work during this difficult time. ”

When the Hicklins arrived in 2009, Frank Fields Jr. was still working on the site. Fields, who is deceased, told Hicklin that he works for Maugham and that his mother, Cassie Mae Fields, cooked for Maugham.

“Frank told me that his mother would make Maugham breakfast,” Hicklin said, as the young Fields reopened the fire and brought him coffee.

Road to “The Razor’s Edge”

Maugham had come to Yemasee in other states, including Chicago, which was the site of “The Razor’s Edge,” and Los Angeles, where he crossed paths with writers Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard, both of whom were fascinated by the Upanishad Vedanta philosophy. This, of course, reflects Larry’s journey to seek the truth in “The Razor’s Edge.”


Somerset Maugham wrote “The Razor’s Edge” while living in Yemassee during World War II. Gavin McIntyre / Staff

According to Selina Hastings’ “The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham,” when she arrived, she advised chef Nora, who was amazingly skilled with fried chicken and leg, to master the art of cooking in France. Soon he was preparing onion sauce and duck l’Orange with amazing skill.

His days were elaborate, writing every morning, frequently followed by entertaining A-lists of 1940s coming and going, which is illustrated by the textbooks he left as a gift.

Eleanor Roosevelt allegedly took pictures that Maugham admired. Hastings also shares that the two recipes were interchangeable. Artist Alfred Eisenstaedt also shot Life magazine, including one of Maugham’s in a jacket with a tire on a johnboat on the water, one upstairs with his cook and a housekeeper watching him, someone from the recording studio.

According to Morgan’s book, Dorothy Parker of the Algonquin Round Table also visited Yemassee, too, despite claiming to be the longest three-day weeks of her life, uninvited by the habits she was given, who just wanted to play bridge, and finally say, “This old lady is a loser. . ”

Charleston historian and historian Harlan Greene heard of Wescott’s whereabouts and investigated Dorothy Heyward, a playwright and the other half of DuBose Heyward. Wescott and Maugham teamed up in Charleston with Josephine Pinckney and Heyward, a chef who pretends to be a fan of going to the Dock Street Theater to be aired on television.

There was also Gerald Haxton, a Maugham alcoholic who left Yemassee after a brief stay in DC, before suffering from tuberculosis in 1944.

Maugham’s granddaughter Robin recovered from the war, and came to look after his grieving uncle. In his book, “Somerset and all the Maughams,” he wrote, “He refused to leave Parker’s Ferry and refused to meet anyone – even his closest friends. This is when Ellen and Nelson Doubleday told me to come and live with him.”

He continues, “Willie seemed uncomfortable. But my arrival compelled him to try to recover. He took me to dinner with Ellen and Nelson Doubleday and their family in what we all called a” big house, “and being as friendly and pleasant as hospitality in some way helped us all return. ”

Home again

In the end, the warfare waged by Maugham helped him and his audience after the war to seek spiritual life. “The Razor’s Edge” was a great seller, quickly completing 3 million records and finding its place in the western canon. After the war, Maugham returned to Villa La Mauresque, where he remained until his death in 1965.

The trip also helped me get a better world. Coming from a small area in South Carolina, I traveled the world with a broken life but called Larry in search of many good things. I followed his trials in love and war, from Chicago to Paris to India, before returning to the fertile, hard soil of South Carolina.

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