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Maugham, W(illiam) Somerset 1874-1965

MAUGHAM, W(illiam) Somerset 1874-1965

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Mawm"; born January 25, 1874, in Paris, France; died December 16, 1965, in Nice, France; son of Robert Ormond (a solicitor to the British Embassy) and Edith Mary (Snell) Maugham; married Syrie Barnardo Wellcome, 1915 (divorced, 1927); children: Liza. Education: Attended University of Heidelberg, 1891-92; briefly studied accountancy in Kent, England; St. Thomas Hospital, M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., 1897. Religion: Rationalist. Hobbies and other interests: Bridge, music, gardening, collecting paintings.

CAREER: Novelist, playwright, editor, and author of short fiction. Narrator for Quartet (dramatization of four of his stories), 1949, and Trio (film based on three of his stories), 1950, and Encore (dramatization based on four of his stories); host of U.S. televised dramatizations of his stories, 1950-51. Military service: Served with ambulance unit and as medical officer during World War I; served with British Secret Service in Switzerland; served with British Ministry of Information in Paris during World War II.

MEMBER: Royal Society of Literature (fellow and companion), American Academy of Arts and Letters (honorary member), Garrick Club.

AWARDS, HONORS: Companion of Honour, 1954; C.Litt., 1961; named honorary senator of Heidelberg University, 1961; D.Litt., Oxford University and University of Toulouse; honorary fellow, Library of Congress, Washington, DC; Commander, Legion of Honour.

WRITINGS:

NOVELS

Liza of Lambeth, Doran, Unwin (London, England), 1897, Doran (New York, NY), 1921, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

The Making of a Saint, L. C. Page (Boston, MA), 1898, published as The Making of a Saint: A Romance of Medieval Italy, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1966, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Hero, Hutchinson (London, England), 1901, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Mrs. Craddock, Doran, Heinemann (London, England), 1902, Doran (New York, NY), 1920, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1979.

The Merry-Go-Round, Heinemann (London, England), 1905, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

The Bishop's Apron: A Study in the Origins of a Great Family, Chapman & Hall (London, England), 1906, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Explorer, Heinemann (London, England), 1907, Baker & Taylor (New York, NY), 1909.

The Magician, Heinemann (London, England), 1908, Duffield (New York, NY), 1909, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Of Human Bondage, Doran (New York, NY), 1915, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

The Moon and Sixpence, Doran (New York, NY), 1919, reprinted, Dover (New York, NY), 1995.

The Painted Veil, Doran (New York, NY), 1925, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1979.

Cakes and Ale; or, The Skeleton in the Cupboard, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1930, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977, published as Cakes and Ale, Modern Library (New York, NY), 1950.

The Book-Bag, G. Orioli (Florence, Italy), 1932.

The Narrow Corner, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1932, reprinted, Pan Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Theatre, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1937.

Christmas Holiday, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1939, reprinted, Pan Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Up at the Villa, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1941, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

The Hour before the Dawn, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1942, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Razor's Edge, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1944, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Then and Now, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1946, published as Fools and Their Folly, Avon (New York, NY), 1949, reprinted, Pan Books (New York, NY), 1979.

Catalina: A Romance, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1948, reprinted, Pan Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Selected Novels, three volumes, Heinemann (London, England), 1953.

SHORT STORIES

Orientations, Unwin (London, England), 1899.

The Trembling of a Leaf: Little Stories of the South Sea Islands, Doran (New York, NY), 1921, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977, published as Sadie Thompson and Other Stories of the South Seas, Readers Library (London, England), 1928, published as Rain, and Other Stories, Grosset (New York, NY), 1932.

The Casuarina Tree: Six Stories, Doran (New York, NY), 1926, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977, published as The Letter: Stories of Crime, Collins (London, England), 1930.

Ashenden; or, The British Agent, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1928, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1977.

Six Stories Written in the First Person Singular, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1931, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Ah King, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1933, published as Ah King: Six Stories, Heinemann (London, England), 1933, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

East and West: The Collected Short Stories, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1934, published as Altogether; Being the Collected Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, Heinemann (London, England), 1934.

Judgment Seat, Centaur (Philadelphia, PA), 1934.

Cosmopolitans, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1936, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977, published as Cosmopolitans: Twenty-nine Short Stories, Avon (New York, NY), 1943.

The Favorite Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1937.

Princess September and the Nightingale (fairy tale; first published in The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong), Oxford University Press (London, England), 1939, published as Princess September, Harcourt (New York, NY), 1969.

The Mixture As Before, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1940, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Unconquered, House of Books (New York, NY), 1944.

Ah King, and Other Romance Stories of the Tropics (contains selections from Ah King), Avon (New York, NY), 1944.

Creatures of Circumstance, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1947, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Stories of Love and Intrigue from "The Mixture As Before," Avon (New York, NY), 1947.

East of Suez: Great Stories of the Tropics, Avon (New York, NY), 1948.

Here and There, Heinemann (London, England), 1948.

The Complete Short Stories, three volumes, Heinemann (London, England), 1951, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1952, published as Collected Short Stories, Pan Books (New York, NY), 1976.

The World Over: Stories of Manifold Places and People, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1952.

Best Short Stories, selected by John Beecroft, Modern Library (New York, NY), 1957.

Favorite Stories, Avon (New York, NY), 1960.

Collected Short Stories, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1963.

Husbands and Wives: Nine Stories, edited by Richard A. Cordell, Pyramid (New York, NY), 1963.

The Sinners: Six Stories, edited by Richard A. Cordell, Pyramid (New York, NY), 1964.

A Maugham Twelve, selected by Angus Wilson, Heinemann (London, England), 1966.

The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham, four volumes, Washington Square Press (New York, NY), 1967.

The Kite, and Other Stories, introduction by Ian Serraillier, Heinemann (London, England) Educational, 1968.

Maugham's Malaysian Stories, edited by Anthony Burgess, Heinemann (London, England), 1969.

Seventeen Lost Stories, edited by Craig V. Showalter, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1969.

A Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Short Stories, Heinemann (London, England), 1969.

Four Short Stories, illustrations by Henri Matisse, Hallmark Editions (Kansas City, MO), 1970.

A Second Baker's Dozen: Thirteen Short Stories, Heinemann (London, England), 1970.

The Hairless Mexican [and] The Traitor, Heinemann (London, England) Educational, 1974.

Footprints in the Jungle and Two Other Stories, edited by Rod Sinclair, Heinemann Educational (London, England), 1975.

Sixty-five Short Stories, Octopus Books (London, England), 1976.

A short story, "The Vessel of Wrath," was published by Dell as The Beachcomber.

PLAYS

Marriages Are Made in Heaven (produced in Berlin as Schiffbruechig, 1902), published in The Venture Annual of Art and Literature, edited by Maugham and Laurence Housman, Baillie (London, England), 1903.

A Man of Honour: A Tragedy in Four Acts (produced in Westminster, England, at Imperial Theatre, February 23, 1903), Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1903.

Mademoiselle Zampa, produced in London, 1904.

Penelope: A Comedy in Three Acts (produced in London, 1909), Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1909.

Lady Frederick: A Comedy in Three Acts (first produced in London, 1907; produced in New York, NY, 1908), Heinemann (London, England), 1911, Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1912.

A Trip to Brighton (adaptation of a play by Abel Tarride), produced in London, 1911.

Jack Straw: A Farce in Three Acts (produced in London and New York, 1908), Heinemann (London, England), 1911, Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1912.

The Explorer: A Melodrama in Four Acts (produced in London, 1908), Heinemann (London, England), 1912, Doran (New York, NY), 1920, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Mrs. Dot: A Farce in Three Acts (produced in London, 1908), Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1912.

Smith: A Comedy in Four Acts (first produced in London, 1909; produced in New York, 1910), Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1913.

Landed Gentry: A Comedy in Four Acts (produced as Grace in London, 1910), Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1913.

The Tenth Man: A Tragic Comedy in Three Acts (produced in London, 1910), Dramatic Publishing (New York, NY), 1913.

The Land of Promise: A Comedy in Four Acts (first produced in New York, 1913), Bickers & Son (London, England), 1913.

Love in a Cottage, produced in London, 1918.

The Unknown: A Play in Three Acts (produced in London, 1920), Doran (New York, NY), 1920.

The Circle: A Comedy in Three Acts (produced in New York and London, 1921), Doran (New York, NY), 1921.

Caesar's Wife: A Comedy in Three Acts (produced in London, 1919), Heinemann (London, England), 1922, Doran (New York, NY), 1923.

East of Suez: A Play in Seven Scenes (produced in London, 1922), Doran (New York, NY), 1922, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Loaves and Fishes: A Comedy in Four Acts (produced in London, 1911), Heinemann (London, England), 1923.

The Unattainable: A Farce in Three Acts (produced in New York and London, 1916), Heinemann (London, England), 1923.

Our Betters: A Comedy in Three Acts (first produced in New York, 1917), Heinemann (London, England), 1923, Doran (New York, NY), 1924.

Home and Beauty: A Farce in Three Acts (produced in New York and London, 1919; produced as Too Many Husbands in New York, 1919), Heinemann (London, England), 1923.

The Camel's Back, produced in Worcester, MA, 1923; produced in London, 1924.

The Letter: A Play in Three Acts (based on The Casuarina Tree; produced in London, 1927), Doran (New York, NY), 1925, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Constant Wife: A Comedy in Three Acts (first produced in New York, 1926), Doran (New York, NY), 1926.

The Sacred Flame: A Play in Three Acts (produced in New York, 1928), Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1928, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Bread-Winner: A Comedy in One Act (first produced in London, 1930; produced in New York, 1931), Heinemann (London, England), 1930, published as The Breadwinner: A Comedy, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1931.

Plays, Heinemann (London, England), 1931, reprinted, 1966.

Dramatic Works, six volumes, Heinemann (London, England), 1931-34, published as Collected Plays, three volumes, 1952, published as The Collected Plays of W. Somerset Maugham, 1961.

For Services Rendered: A Play in Three Acts (produced in London, 1932), Heinemann (London, England), 1932, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1933, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Sheppey: A Play in Three Acts (produced in London, 1933), Heinemann (London, England), 1933, Baker, 1949, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Mask and the Face (adaptation of a play by Luigi Chiarelli), produced in Boston, 1933.

Six Comedies, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1937, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

(With Guy Reginald Bolton) Theatre: A Comedy in Three Acts, Samuel French, 1942, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Noble Spaniard: A Comedy in Three Acts (adapted from Ernest Grenet-Dancourt's "Les Gaites du veuvage"; produced in London, 1909), Evans (London, England), 1953.

The Perfect Gentleman (adaptation of a play by Moliere; produced in London, 1913), published in Theatre Arts, November, 1955.

Selected Plays, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1963.

Three Dramas: The Letter, The Sacred Flame, For Services Rendered, Washington Square Press (New York, NY), 1968.

Three Comedies: The Circle, Our Betters, The Constant Wife, Washington Square Press (New York, NY), 1969.

Also author of Mrs. Beamish, 1917; The Keys to Heaven, 1917; Not To-Night, Josephine! (farce), 1919; The Road Uphill, 1924; The Force of Nature, 1928.

EDITOR

(With Laurence Housman) The Venture Annual of Art and Literature, Baillie (London, England), 1903.

(With Laurence Housman) The Venture Annual of Art and Literature 1905, Simpkin Marshall, (London, England), 1904.

Charles Henry Hawtrey, The Truth at Last, Little (New York, NY), 1924.

Traveller's Library, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1933, reissued as Fifty Modern English Writers, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1933.

(With Joseph Frederick Green) Wisdom of Life: An Anthology of Noble Thoughts, Watts (New York, NY), 1938.

(With introduction) George Douglas, The House with the Green Shutters, Oxford University Press (London, England), 1938.

Tellers of Tales: One Hundred Short Stories from the United States, England, France, Russia and Germany, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1939, published as The Greatest Stories of All Times, Tellers of Tales, Garden City Publishing (Garden City, NY), 1943.

Great Modern Reading: W. Somerset Maugham's Introduction to Modern English and American Literature, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1943.

Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Winston (New York, NY), 1948.

Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, Winston (New York, NY), 1948.

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Honore de Balzac, Old Man Goriot, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Fyodor Dostoyevski, The Brothers Karamazov, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Stendhal, The Red and the Black, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, Winston (New York, NY), 1949.

A Choice of Kipling's Prose, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1952, reprinted, Telegraph Books (New York, NY), 1981, published as Maugham's Choice of Kipling's Best, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1953.

OTHER

The Artistic Temperament of Stephen Carey (earliest manuscript for novel Of Human Bondage), c. 1900.

The Land of the Blessed Virgin: Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia (travel), Heinemann (London, England), 1905, Knopf (New York, NY), 1920.

On a Chinese Screen (travel), Doran (New York, NY), 1922, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Gentleman in the Parlour: A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1930, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Non-Dramatic Works, twenty-eight volumes, Heinemann (London, England), 1934-1969.

Don Fernando; or, Variations on Some Spanish Themes (travel), Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1935, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977, revised edition, Heinemann (London, England), 1961.

Works, collected edition, Heinemann (London, England), 1935.

My South Sea Island, privately printed, 1936.

The Summing Up (autobiography), Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1938l, reprinted, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1978.

Books and You, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1940, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

France at War, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1940, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

Strictly Personal, Doubleday, Doran (New York, NY), 1941, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The W. Somerset Maugham Sampler, edited by Jerome Weidman, Garden City Publishing (Garden City, NY), 1943, published as The Somerset Maugham Pocket Book, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1944.

W. Somerset Maugham's Introduction to Modern English and American Literature, New Home Library (New York, NY), 1943.

Great Novelists and Their Novels: Essays on the Ten Greatest Novels of the World and the Men and Women Who Wrote Them, Winston (New York, NY), 1948, revised edition published as Ten Novels and Their Authors, Heinemann (London, England), 1954, published as The Art of Fiction: An Introduction to Ten Novels and Their Authors, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1955, published as The World's Ten Greatest Novels, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1956, published as W. Somerset Maugham Selects the World's Ten Greatest Novels, Fawcett (New York, NY), 1962.

Quartet: Stories by W. Somerset Maugham, Screen-Plays by R. C. Sheriff, Heinemann (London, England), 1948, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1949.

A Writer's Notebook, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1949, reprinted, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

The Maugham Reader, introduction by Glenway Wescott, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1950.

Trio: Original Stories by W. Somerset Maugham; Screenplays by W. Somerset Maugham, R. C. Sherriff, and Noel Langley, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1950.

Cakes and Ale, and Other Favorites, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1951.

Encore: Original Stories by W. Somerset Maugham, Screenplays by T. E. B. Clarke, Arthur Macrae, and Eric Ambler, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1952.

The Vagrant Mood: Six Essays, Heinemann (London, England), 1952, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1953.

The Partial View (contains The Summing Up and A Writer's Notebook), Heinemann (London, England), 1954.

Mr. Maugham Himself, selected by John Beecroft, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1954.

The Travel Books, Heinemann (London, England), 1955.

The Magician: A Novel, Together with A Fragment of Autobiography, Heinemann (London, England), 1956, published as The Magician: Together with A Fragment of Autobiography, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1957.

Points of View (essays), Heinemann (London, England), 1958, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1959.

Purely for My Pleasure, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1962.

Selected Prefaces and Introductions of W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1963.

Wit and Wisdom of Somerset Maugham, edited by Cecil Hewetson, Duckworth (New York, NY), 1966.

Essays on Literature, New American Library (New York, NY), 1967.

Cakes and Ale, and Twelve Short Stories, edited by Angus Wilson, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1967.

Man from Glasgow and Mackintosh, Heinemann Educational (London, England), 1973.

Selected Works, Heinemann (London, England), 1976.

The Works of Somerset Maugham, forty-seven volumes, Arno (New York, NY), 1977.

A Traveller in Romance: Uncollected Writings, 1901-1964, edited by John Whitehead, C. N. Potter (New York, NY), 1985.

The Great Exotic Novels and Short Stories of Somerset Maugham, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2001.

A Maugham archive is maintained by the Yale University Library.

ADAPTATIONS: The following films were based on Maugham's works: Smith, 1917; The Land of Promise, Famous Players, 1917, produced as The Canadian, Paramount, 1926; The Divorcee, based on Lady Frederick, Metro Pictures, 1919; Jack Straw, Famous Players/Lasky, 1920; The Circle, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1925, produced as Strictly Unconventional, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1930; Sadie Thompson, 1928, remade as Rain, United Artists, 1932, and as Miss Sadie Thompson, Columbia, 1954; Charming Sinners, based on The Constant Wife, Paramount, 1929; Our Betters, RKO, 1933; Of Human Bondage, RKO, 1934, remakes by Warner Bros., 1946, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1964; The Painted Veil, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1934; The Tenth Man, Wardour Films, 1937; The Beachcomber (based on "The Vessel of Wrath"), Paramount, 1938; Too Many Husbands, based on Not To-Night, Josephine! Columbia, 1940, remade as Three for the Show, Columbia, 1955; The Letter, Warner Bros., 1940; The Moon and Sixpence, United Artists, 1943; The Razor's Edge, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1947, and Columbia, 1984; Quartet (film version of The Facts of Life, The Alien Corn, The Kite, and The Colonel's Lady), J. Arthur Rank, 1949; Trio, Paramount, 1951; Encore (film version of The Ant and the Grasshopper, Winter Cruise, and Gigolo and Gigolette), J. Arthur Rank, 1952; Up at the Villa, USA Films, 2000. Plays based on Maugham's works: Rain (dramatization of Miss Thompson), by John B. Colton and Clemence Randolph, produced in New York, 1922, published by Boni & Liveright, 1923, S. French, 1948; Sadie Thompson, musical adaptation, produced in New York, 1944; Before the Party (dramatization of a short story), by Rodney Ackland, S. French, 1950; Larger Than Life (based on the novel Theatre), by Guy Bolton, S. French, 1951; Jane (dramatization of a short story), by S. N. Behrman, produced in New York, 1952, published by Random House, 1952.

SIDELIGHTS: "Looking back upon my work in my old age," W. Somerset Maugham once wrote, "I am disposed to regard it very modestly and to admit frankly some of its shortcomings. In my youth I had accepted the challenge of writing and literature to idealize them; in my age I see the magnitude of the attempt and wonder at my audacity."

Maugham may have been audacious, but more often people called him cynical, cold, uncharitable. One publisher said, "Willie's been true to himself; he's had a bad word for everybody." His attitude toward humanity was likened by Malcolm Cowley to "the milk of human kindness half-soured." Maugham once commented, "I've always been interested in people, but I don't like them." In The Summing Up he wrote: "I have been called cynical. I have been accused of making men out worse than they are. I do not think I have done this. All I have done is to bring into prominence certain traits that many writers shut their eyes to. I think what has chiefly struck me in human beings is their lack of consistency."

Maugham sometimes cynically agreed with his detractors, who saw him as merely an entertainer who became one of the world's richest authors. It was estimated that he earned more than three million dollars from his writings, and his estate came to be valued at about five million dollars. Alan Pryce-Jones wrote: "Of his popular success there can be no question. In the history of literature there is nobody whose work has been more widely sold, translated and devoured—partly because of his real merit as a storyteller, partly because the functional simplicity of his writing made his books unusually accessible." His stories are not difficult to comprehend. He once said that he had "a clear and logical brain, but not a very subtle nor a very powerful one."

Maugham was born in Paris, France, in 1874, the son of a solicitor to the British embassy. However, his father died when he was eight and his mother when he was twelve, and he was raised by his father's brother, a clergyman. When he was thirteen, he was sent to King's School, Cambridge, in England, where he was supposed to prepare for a career as a clergyman. He was more interested in writing, though, and got his uncle's permission to study in Heidelberg, Germany. He ultimately decided to study medicine, and trained for six years in a hospital in London. Although he spent a year-long internship in the London slums, he never went into medical practice. Instead, he moved to Paris, where he worked on his writing and lived in poverty. His first play, Lady Frederick, was produced in 1907, and was followed by three others within a year, launching his long and illustrious career as a writer.

The position Maugham established through more than sixty years of writing was no mean accomplishment. He was a storyteller—"the most continuously readable storyteller of our lifetime," said Christopher Morley—one who believed a story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, carefully delineated characters, a lucid plot, and employ clear, concise language. Maugham was, Walter Allen wrote, "the last survivor of a vanished age, an age which had not divorced, as ours has largely done, the idea of entertainment from the idea of art." The writer, for him, was a purveyor of pleasure, and what he wrote about was more important than how it was presented. He said, "With me the sense is more than the sound, the substance is more than the form, the moral significance is more than the rhetorical adornment. I am not indifferent to the art and music of words, but I habitually treat them as of secondary importance. . . . The fact remains that the four greatest novelists the world has ever known—Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoi and Dostoyevski—wrote their respective languages very badly. It proves that if you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write." He added, "I wrote stories because it was a delight to write them."

Of Human Bondage, however, "was written in pain." Its principal character, Philip Carey, sensitive and plagued with a clubfoot, was so like the author, who was afflicted with a stutter, that Maugham was unable to read the book after it was published. Perhaps to avoid similar pain, Maugham chose to write about other people and found material for stories everywhere. He once said, "I am almost inclined to say that I could not spend an hour in anyone's company without getting the material to write at least a readable story about him." "In all my work," he said, "I have tried . . . to touch many classes of readers and many varieties of mind. I can be severely simple and chastely sensuous, classic and grotesque, subtle and passionate, passing with perfect mastery from love to dialectics, from the wail of a somber pessimism to the exaltation and rapture of a triumphant lover. I can even be humorous, too." Coherence was evident in Maugham's ideas, "for the main principles of my philosophy are so simple and so definite, that from my earliest writings to my last there is perfect unity." And always in his travels and sojourns he was an observer, dispassionate and systematic. As he wrote once, "I do not know a better training ground for a writer than to spend some years in the medical profession."

John Brophy called Maugham's writings "extroverted." The resultant artificiality and informality were well suited to certain media in which Maugham had achieved success, notably the stage—at one time he had four plays running simultaneously on London's West End—and the "magazine" story. Maugham had reproached those who favored the mood story characteristic of Anton Chekhov and had defended his own narratives: "Where the critics to my mind err is when they dismiss stories as magazine stories because they are well constructed, dramatic and have a surprise ending."

Of Human Bondage is still regarded as Maugham's best, though he always showed a preference for Cakes and Ale. He believed Graham Greene was the best British novelist, and he liked William Faulkner. Though critics attributed influences on Maugham to such authors as Dickens, Fielding, Defoe, and Trollope, Maugham once said, "I follow no master, and acknowledge none."

"In my twenties," he once wrote, "the critics said I was brutal. In my thirties they said I was flippant, in my forties they said I was cynical, in my fifties they said I was competent, and in my sixties they say I am superficial." By 1959 this compulsive writer was writing, he said, only for himself, and at the time of his death he was reportedly working on an autobiography that was to be published posthumously. A few years before his death he destroyed all of his old notebooks and unfinished manuscripts. Yet he continued to assert that "literature, or pure imaginative creation, was the highest goal toward which man could strive."

Maugham lived in a villa once owned by Leopold II, and replicas of a Moorish symbol surrounded him. He entertained the wealthy, royalty, and great wits and beauties. He observed them all for his stories. He once received over half a million pounds for his collection of paintings. He died in Nice, France, in 1965.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Archer, Stanley, W. Somerset Maugham: A Study of the Short Fiction, Twayne (New York, NY), 1993.

Brander, L., Somerset Maugham: A Guide, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1963.

Breit, Harvey, editor, The Writer Observed, World Publishing (New York, NY), 1956.

Brophy, John, Somerset Maugham, Longmans, Green (London, England), 1952, revised edition, 1958.

Brown, Ivor, W. Somerset Maugham, Barnes (New York, NY), 1970.

Burt, Forrest, W. Somerset Maugham, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1986.

Calder, Robert L., Willie: The Life of W. Somerset Maugham, Heinemann (London, England), 1989.

Connon, Bryan, Somerset Maugham and the Maugham Dynasty, Sinclair-Stevenson (London, England), 1997.

Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 1, 1973, Volume 11, 1979, Volume 15, 1980.

Cordell, Richard Albert, Somerset Maugham: A Biographical and Critical Study, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN), 1961.

Curtis, A. Anthony, Somerset Maugham, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1977.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 10: Modern British Dramatists, 1940-1945, 1982, Volume 36: British Novelists, 1890-1929: Modernists, 1985, Volume 77: British Mystery Writers, 1920-1939, 1989, Volume 195: British Travel Writers, 1910-1939, 1998.

Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.

Holden, Philip, Orienting Masculinity, Orienting Nation: W. Somerset Maugham's Exotic Fiction, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.

International Dictionary of Theatre, Volume 2: Playwrights, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1993.

MacCarthy, D., William Somerset Maugham, Norwood Editions (Norwood, PA), 1977.

Maugham, Robin, Somerset and All the Maughams, New American Library, 1966.

Maugham, Robin, Conversations with Willie: Recollections of W. Somerset Maugham, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1978.

McIver, C. S., William Somerset Maugham, Richard West, 1978.

Menard, W., The Two Worlds of Somerset Maugham, Sherbourne, 1965.

Morgan, Ted, Maugham, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1980.

Pfeiffer, Karl Graham, W. Somerset Maugham: A Candid Portrait, Norton (New York, NY), 1959.

Raphael, Frederic, Somerset Maugham, Thames & Hudson (London, England), 1976.

Rogal, Samuel J., A Companion to the Characters in the Fiction and Drama of W. Somerset Maugham, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1996.

Rogal, Samuel J., A William Somerset Maugham Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press (Westport, CT), 1997.

St. James Guide to Crime and Mystery Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

Swinnerton, Frank, The Saturday Review Gallery, Simon & Schuster, (New York, NY), 1959.

Whitehead, John, Maugham: A Reappraisal, Vision (London, England), 1987.

PERIODICALS

American Scholar, winter, 1993, pp. 98-103.

Armchair Detective, spring, 1996, review of Ashenden, p. 225.

Booklist, November 15, 1998, review of Princess September and the Nightingale, p. 597.

Chicago Tribune, April 30, 1980; October 19, 1984; May 6, 1987.

Children's Bookwatch, May, 1993, review of Appointment, p. 3.

Christian Science Monitor, July 6, 1970.

Connoisseur, April, 1990, pp. 46-48.

Detroit News, February 17, 1985.

English Literature in Translation, March, 1995, review of The Moon and Sixpence, p. 329.

Horn Book, spring, 1999, review of Princess September and the Nightingale, p. 58.

Library Journal, September 1, 1993, review of Ashenden, p. 143; April 15, 2001, review of Up at the Villa and Christmas Holiday, p. 138.

Listener, October 17, 1968.

Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1984.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 2, 1985.

Nation, January 29, 1990, p. 144.

New Advocate, fall, 1993, review of Appointment, p. 291.

Newsweek, January 27, 1958.

New York Times, February 18, 1986; February 21, 1986.

New York Times Magazine, January 25, 1959; June 2, 1968.

Playboy, January, 1966.

Publishers Weekly, May 3, 1993, p. 304; November 23, 1998, review of Princess September and the Nightingale, p. 69.

Punch, October 16, 1968.

Saturday Review, October 14, 1961; November 5, 1966.

School Library Journal, February, 1999, review of Princess September and the Nightingale, p. 87.

Stage, June 4, 1970; June 18, 1970; July 2, 1970; July 23, 1970.

Time, April 20, 1962.

Times (London, England), March 28, 1988.

Times Literary Supplement, April 5, 1985.

Variety, July 8, 1970.

Washington Post, October 8, 1969; October 19, 1984.

Washington Post Book World, August 20, 1995, review of The Gentleman in the Parlour, p. 15.

Yale Review, spring, 1987, pp. 428-440.

OBITUARIES:

PERIODICALS

Books Abroad, spring, 1966.

New York Herald Tribune, December 17, 1965.

New York Times, December 16, 1965.

Publishers Weekly, December 27, 1965.

Reporter, December 30, 1965.*

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