William Somerset Maugham is one of the best known English writers of the 20th century. He was not only a novelist, but also a one of the most successful dramatist and short-story writers. Maugham wants the readers to draw their own conclusion about the characters and events described in his novels. His reputation as a novelist is based on the following prominent books: “Of Human Bondage”; “The Moon and Sixpence”; and “The Razor's Edge”.
Though Maugham doesn’t denounce the contemporary social order, he is critical of the morals and the narrow-mindedness. Realistic portrayal of life, keen character observation, and interesting plots coupled with beautiful, expressive language, a simple, clear, unadored style, place Somerset Maugham on a level with the greatest English writers of the 20th century. In general, Maugham's novels and short stories could be characterized by great narrative facility, an ironic point of view, cosmopolitan settings, and an astonishing understanding of human nature.
William Somerset Maugham
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William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965), English playwright and author wrote Of Human Bondage (1915); [pic][pic]He did not know how wide a country, arid and precipitous, must be crossed before the traveller through life comes to an acceptance of reality. It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.--Ch. 29 Initially titled "The Artistic Temperament of Stephen Carey", Maugham revised an earlier autobiographical novel and it was published to subdued response until Sister Carrie (1900) author Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) wrote a glowing review of it, calling Maugham a "great artist". Philip Carey sets out on an unconventional life, struggling in his search for spiritual and artistic freedom. When he becomes immersed in his obsession for Mildred, sacrificing any shred of self-respect he had, it takes much destruction and the ultimate insult to end their sordid affair. The novel ends with a bitter hint of irony notable in many of Maugham's short stories and novels. Like his protagonist, Maugham himself would live for many years in search of his calling and a place where he belonged. He courted much controversy through his works including accusations of a thinly-veiled satirical attack on Thomas Hardy in Cakes and Ale (1930). Although he was homosexual, he married once and had numerous affairs with women, many of his female characters mirroring real life lovers. Maugham travelled far and wide during his life to Europe, North America, the Far East, the South Seas and beyond; he also explored many professions including doctor, spy, and playwright, but it is for his short stories and novels that he is best remembered today. There are many biographical details in his stories and characters; he avoids verbose sentimentality, favouring spare yet vivid, often cynical prose. Maugham saw numerous television and screen adaptations of his works and enjoyed great financial success. While his life was less-than idyllic at times and he raised the ire of many, he made notable and generous contributions to the people and institutions who supported him in his life, including building a new library for King's College, Canterbury, England. William Somerset Maugham was born on 25 December 1874 at the British Embassy in Paris, France, the fourth son (of seven children total, but only four that survived infancy) born to socialite and writer Edith Mary née Snell (1840-1882) and Robert Ormond Maugham (1823-1884), a lawyer for the British Embassy....