William somerset maugham

He wrote only one book that was not of this character. It was a collection of essays that he had contributed to the solid magazines of the day and he issued it, as became his sense of decorum, anonymously. I once had the book in my hands, a handsome volume bound in calf, but I never read it and I have not been able to get hold of a copy since.

William somerset maugham

Ostensibly a distillation of his diary, kept over some 50 years, it was more interesting to the aspiring novelist for the gnomic advice Maugham offered on the craft of writing. I cite this for two reasons: Maugham died aged 91 in — a few months before Evelyn Waugh — but he was born inthe year Disraeli took over as prime minister from Gladstone.

His peers were writers such as Compton Mackenzie, Hugh Walpole, John Galsworthy — forgotten figures, almost — but something about Maugham and his work endured long into his dotage.

The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selina Hastings | Book review | Books | The Guardian

There was no real sense of anything "retro" about him. Perhaps this was due in some way to the so-called "cynicism" in his novels and stories, something that was found shocking at the beginning of his career, but that chimed more harmoniously with modern readers, increasingly cynical themselves, towards its William somerset maugham.

The abiding image is of Maugham in his vast villa on Cap Ferrat — the Villa Mauresque — filled with famous guests and 13 staff, the writer spending his mornings at work in his bespoke writing rooms on the flat roof with a wide view of the Mediterranean where he could spot fellow novelist Arnold Bennett cruising by in his huge yacht — those were the days.

Maugham, along with the restlessly roving Graham Greene, probably created the stereotype of the famous novelist in Europe, mid-century. As with all lives, not all was as it purported to be. The public face and the private man were at some remove from each other.

William Maugham Biography - Facts, Childhood, Family Life & Achievements of British Writer

Born into a professional, bourgeois family, the youngest of four brothers, he experienced tragedy early in his life when his mother died when he was eight.

He kept a photo of her by his bed for the rest of his life and declared that his love for her was the only love he had ever experienced requited.

This trauma initiated the famous stammer and an unhappy childhood — he was brought up by a humourless uncle and ineffectual aunt — and miserable schooldays ensured that he was both shy and withdrawn. But Maugham had no real vocation for medicine — he wanted to write and his duties as a trainee doctor, instead, provided him with the low-life material for his first novel, Liza of Lambeth published From the outset of his career, Maugham was aware of his limitations as a writer; he lacked imagination, he said; writing was something of a mechanical exercise.

It was the stories he heard, read about or observed that fuelled his fiction and at the same time one feels that the profession of writer was selected almost, as we would now say, as a "lifestyle" choice, offering the prospect of earning a decent living, keeping congenial hours and providing agreeable opportunities for foreign travel.

Maugham had a "knack" for writing — a favourite word — and, it turned out, also a knack for writing popular, sophisticated, drawing-room comedies for the theatre. Like Chekhov, he turned to the theatre purely as a way of making money and very soon he hit paydirt. His first success was Lady Frederick in A year later, he had four plays running simultaneously in the West End.

He was 33 and was to remain extremely rich for the rest of his life. Emotionally, it was a different story. Maugham described himself as being "three quarters normal, one quarter queer". In reality it was probably the other way round. He was sexually promiscuous and one of his heterosexual affairs was with a wealthy divorcee, Syrie Wellcome.

She effectively trapped him into marriage by becoming pregnant and their daughter, Liza, was born in secret out of wedlock in Soon married and respectable, Maugham quickly developed the ability to lead a double life: Syrie remained in London where he played the husband and father, but his heart was in Europe where his secretary-lover Gerald Haxton lived and with whom he travelled the world, coming home alone to an increasingly bitter and destructive family life.

Professionally, Maugham was going from strength to strength. He remains the writer with the most film and TV adaptations of his work — some 98 in all. But, domestically, Maugham was coming to hate his wife with a corrosive intensity and eventually persuaded Syrie to divorce him at great expense.

Maugham was now finally free to create the regime of hard work and self-indulgent hedonism — the Villa Mauresque became a kind of discreet sexual nirvana for the literary gay man — that he really desired. Life at the villa duly assumed its famous reputation interrupted only by the Second World War.

Honours and more riches accrued, but the serenity of old age was denied him. Such a summary does no justice to a full life lived into its ninth decade, but Hastings recounts the mass of detail and the massive literary output with great sagacity and the sharpest of eyes.

I read this biography with total fascination.

William somerset maugham

She sets a scene or establishes a personality with great economy and intensity. He worked hard, but his money did not bring him great happiness; he relished sex but recoiled when inadvertently touched; he could be amusing or scarily haughty; he could hate with real venom; he was both extremely generous and vindictively cruel.

In Cakes and Ale, he has his narrator the Maugham character remark: A life in letters: His mother, Edith Mary, died when he was eight and his father, Robert, a lawyer at the British embassy in Paris, died in Published his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, in Maugham, William Somerset Born Jan.

25, , in Paris; died Dec. 16, , in St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. British writer. The son of a lawyer for the British Embassy in France, Maugham received a medical education. His practice in a poor district in London provided the material for his first novel, Liza of Lambeth ().

Maugham served in World War I. William Somerset Maugham, CH (/ m ɔː m / MAWM; 25 January – 16 December ), better known as W. Somerset Maugham, was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer.

He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the s. W. Somerset Maugham, in full William Somerset Maugham, (born Jan. 25, , Paris, France—died Dec. 16, , Nice), English novelist, playwright, and short-story writer whose work is characterized by a clear unadorned style, cosmopolitan settings, and a shrewd understanding of human nature.

William Somerset Maugham, CH, better known as W. Somerset Maugham, was a British playwright, novelist and short story writer. He was among the most popular w. William Boyd has nothing but praise for Selina Hastings's monumental and scholarly biography of W Somerset Maugham.

Enjoy the best W. Somerset Maugham Quotes at BrainyQuote. Quotations by W. Somerset Maugham, British Playwright, Born January 25, Share with your friends.

W. Somerset Maugham - IMDb