W. Somerset Maugham Biography


Type: Playwright, novelist, short story writer

Born: 25 January 1874

Died: 16 December 1965

After losing both his parents by the age of 10, Maugham was raised by a paternal uncle who was emotionally cold. Not wanting to become a lawyer like other men in his family, Maugham eventually trained and qualified as a physician. The initial run of his first novel, "Liza of Lambeth" (1897), sold out so rapidly that Maugham gave up medicine to write full-time.

During the First World War, he served with the Red Cross and in the ambulance corps, before being recruited in 1916 into the British Secret Intelligence Service, for which he worked in Switzerland and Russia before the October Revolution of 1917. During and after the war, he travelled in India and Southeast Asia; all of these experiences were reflected in later short stories and novels.

Selected works:

  • Liza of Lambeth 1897
  • Mrs Craddock 1902
  • Of Human Bondage 1915
  • The Book Bag 1932
  • Judgment Seat 1934
  • Cosmopolitans 1936
  • The Razor's Edge 1944
  • Then and Now 1946
  • Encore 1952

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