The Razors Edge
Here is my take on a classic novel about personal transformation along with some intriguing exploration of paradigms, human perception, and frames of reference.
First, this blurb…
Thanks so much for putting this into words. It is the most concise and accurate analysis of this work that I have ever read. The Razor’s Edge has been my favorite book for many years. I re-read it often. And now I will be able to look at it with a fresh eye again.
Thank you. Terrific work.
–Jack Randall Earles, playwright
Top Executive Coach Tony Mayo’s essay on
The Razor’s Edge
by W. Somerset Maugham
The Razor’s Edge is often described as the story of Larry, a war veteran who forsakes a comfortable life in Chicago “society” for a vague spiritual quest. It is better appreciated as a portrait of his acquaintances, whose conventional lifestyles are starkly contrasted to the path walked by the seeker. Some readers have wished to know more of Larry and criticize the space and attention Maugham lavished upon the “ancillary” characters. Instead, The Razor’s Edge illuminates the spiritual path by focusing on people more like the typical reader, people who do not give up materialistic Western striving. The best way to see Larry is to look at what he is not.
This narrative technique succeeds wonderfully in the masterful hands of author W. Somerset Maugham, best known for Of Human Bondage. Rather than simply lay out the details of Larry’s explorations and development, which, being spiritual and internal, would be rather dull to watch, Maugham reveals Larry by dissecting the contrasting behavior of his associates.
The Positive Aspects of Negative Space
This reminds me of the artist’s exercise of drawing “negative space” instead of the object itself. By carefully sketching only those parts of the background visible around the figure one creates a suggestive (more…)