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5 facts about W. Somerset Maugham

“The essence of the beautiful is unity in variety”  W.Somerset Maugham

  1. The British novelist William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), one of the most popular writers in English in the 20th century, is noted for his clarity of style and skill in storytelling.

  2. Born on January 25, 1874, in Paris, France, Somerset Maugham studied medicine for a time before turning to writing, eventually releasing well-known works likeOf Human BondageCakes and Ale and The Razor’s Edge. A successful London playwright as well as an essayist and short-story writer, Maugham also faced critiques for his cynicism and harsh portrayals.

  3. Wanting to write, he obtained his uncle’s permission to go to Heidelberg for a time. He chose the profession of medicine and spent 6 years in training at a London hospital. A year as an intern in the Lambeth slums followed, but he never practiced. For 10 years he wrote and lived in poverty in Paris.

  4. The titles of some of Maugham’s early novels were familiar to a whole generation of readers.

  5. Though his work was popular, he had a great many enemies because of his apparently malicious portraits of living people (for example, the characters based on Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole inCakes and Ale) and because his view of humanity seemed to be one of contempt or of patronizing tolerance.


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