W. Somerset Maugham

Author: W. Somerset Maugham

Profile: W. Somerset Maugham was an English playwright, short story writer and novelist. He was born in Paris, France and died in Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France. He completed his education at The King’s School, Canterbury, Heidelberg University and St.Thomas’s Hospital Medical School. During his era, he was one of the most popular writers. During the 1930s he was reputedly the highest-paid author. His spouse was Syrie Wellcome. He became an orphan at the tender age of ten after which his emotionally cold paternal uncle brought him up.

Maugham trained and qualified as a physician as he did not want to become a lawyer. After Liza of Lambeth (1897) his first novel quickly sold out, Maugham became a full-time writer, thus giving up medicine. He worked in the ambulance corps and with the Red Cross during the First World War after which in 1916 the British Secret Intelligence recruited him. Before the 1917 October Revolution in the Russian Empire, he worked for the service in Russia and Switzerland. Maugham travelled all over the Pacific, Southeast Asia and India during and after the war.

Writing style: The novels and short stories W. Somerset Maugham wrote later draw experiences from his extensive travelling in Southeast Asia, India and the Pacific.

Published Texts:


Film adaptations

1917 – The Land of Promise

1917 – Smith

1919 – The Divorcee

1925 – East of Suez

1925 – The Circle

1926 – The Canadian

1926 – The Magician

1928 – Sadie Thompson

1929 – The Letter

1929 – Charming Sinners

1932 – Rain

1933 – The Narrow Corner

1933 – Our Betters

1934 – Of Human Bondage

1934 – The Painted Veil

1935 – The Right to Live

1936 – Secret Agent

1936 – The Tenth Man

1936 – Isle of Fury

1937 –Another Dawn

1938 – The Vessel of Wrath

1940 – The Letter

1940 – Too Many Husbands

1942 – The Moon and Sixpense

1944 – Christmas Holiday

1944 – The Hour Before the Dawn

1946 – Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A.

1946 – The Razor’s Edge

1946 – Of Human Bondage

1947 – The Unfaithful

1948 – Quartet

1950 – Trio

1951 – Encore

1953 – Miss Sadie Thompson

1956 – The Letter

1957 – The Seventh Sin

1958 – The Beachcomber

1962 – Julia, du bist zauberhaft

1964 – Of Human Bondage

1969 – The Letter

1978 – Theatre

1982 – The Letter

1984 – The Razor’s Edge

2000 – Up at the Villa

2004 – Being Julia

2006 – The Painted Veil


Awards and Acknowledgements:

1948 – Wrote ‘Great Novelists and Their Novels’ (also called the ‘Ten Novels and Their Authors’ and ‘The Art of Fiction’) in which he listed the ten best novels of world literature according to him


1954 – Appointed a Companion of Honour in the Birthday Honours in 1954


Maugham collected extensive theatrical paintings, a collection which was considered to be second to only that of Garrick Club only. He made an announcement in 1948 that he would bequeath the entire collection to the Trustees of the National Theatre. Fourteen years before his death in 1951 his paintings were displayed in exhibitions and were placed on loan to the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden in the year 1994.

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