W. Somerset Maugham Quotes


Type: Playwright, novelist, short story writer

Born: 25 January 1874

Died: 16 December 1965

William 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 1930s.

W. Somerset Maugham Quotes

we do not write as we want but as we can

The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.

How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.

As lovers, the difference between men and women is that women can love all day long, but men only at times.

He did not care if she was heartless, vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasping, he loved her. He would rather have misery with one than happiness with the other.

If a man hasn't what's necessary to make a woman love him, it's his fault, not hers.

When a woman loves you she's not satisfied until she possesses your soul. Because she's weak, she has a rage for domination, and nothing less will satisfy her.

One can be very much in love with a woman without wishing to spend the rest of one's life with her.

I know that you're selfish, selfish beyond words, and I know that you haven't the nerve of a rabbit, I know you're a liar and a humbug, I know that you're utterly contemptible. And the tragic part is'-her face was on a sudden distraught with pain-'the tragic part is that notwithstanding I love you with all my heart.

Women are constantly trying to commit suicide for love, but generally they take care not to succeed.

What d'you suppose I care if I'm a gentleman or not? If I were a gentleman I shouldn't waste my time with a vulgar slut like you.

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.

Only a mediocre person is always at his best.

We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.

To write simply is as difficult as to be good.

The writer is more concerned to know than to judge.

Writing is the supreme solace.

I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o'clock sharp.

You cannot write unless you write much.

Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of every day a source of bitter disappointment.

A man's work reveals him. In social intercourse he gives you the surface that he wishes the world to accept, but in his book or his picture the real man delivers himself defenceless. No affectation of peculiarity can conceal a commonplace mind. No one can produce the most casual work without disclosing the innermost secrets of his soul.

You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.

He did not care upon what terms he satisfied his passion. He had even a mad, melodramatic idea to drug her.

Unless love is passion, it's not love, but something else; and passion thrives not on satisfaction, but on impediment.

I could have forgiven it if he'd fallen desperately in love with someone and gone off with her. I should have thought that natural. I shouldn't really have blamed him. I should have thought he was led away. Men are so weak, and women are so unscrupulous.

It looked as though you did not act in a certain way because you thought in a certain way, but rather you thought in a certain way because you were made in a certain way. Truth had nothing to do with it.

Oh, it's always the same,' she sighed, 'if you want men to behave well to you, you must be beastly to them; if you treat them decently they make you suffer for it.

It is one of the defects of my character that I cannot altogether dislike anyone who makes me laugh.

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.

Kant thought things, not because they were true, but because he was Kant.

Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.

Never pause unless you have a reason for it, but when you pause, pause as long as you can.

What do we any of us have but our illusions? And what do we ask of others but that we be allowed to keep them?

Why did you look at the sunset?'
Philip answered with his mouth full:
Because I was happy.

It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.

I've been quite happy. Look, here are my proofs. Remember that I am indifferent to discomforts which would harass other folk. What do the circumstances of life matter if your dreams make you lord paramount of time and space?

I know that I shall die struggling for breath, and I know that I shall be horribly afraid. I know that I shall not be able to keep myself from regretting bitterly the life that has brought me to such a pass; but I disown that regret. I now, weak, old, diseased, poor, dying, hold still my soul in my hands, and I regret nothing.

The dead look so terribly dead when they're dead.

A little smoke lost in the air, that was the life of a man.

Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither.

You've been brought up like a gentleman and a Christian, and I should be false to the trust laid upon me by your dead father and mother if I allowed you to expose yourself to such temptation.'

Well, I know I'm not a Christian and I'm beginning to doubt whether I'm a gentleman,' said Philip.

No egoism is so insufferable as the Christian with regard to his soul.

Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.

Was it necessary to tell me that you wanted nothing in the world but me?'

The corners of his mouth drooped peevishly.

Oh, my dear, it's rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he's in love with you.'

Didn't you mean them?'

At the moment.

The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.

From the standpoint of what eternity is it better to have read a thousand books than to have ploughed a million furrows?

Laugh while you've got the chance, you won't laugh much when you are dead and buried.

The ideal has many names and beauty is but one of them.

I do not like these painted faces that look all alike; and I think women are foolish to dull their expression and obscure their personality with powder, rouge, and lipstick.

Beauty is a blind alley. It is a mountain peak which once reached leads nowhere […] Beauty is that which satisfies the aesthetic instinct. But who wants to be satisfied? It is only to the dullard that enough is as good as a feast. Let us face it: beauty is a bit of a bore.

Himself an ugly man, insignificant
of appearance, he prized very highly comeliness in others.

My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.

Mrs. MacAndrew shared the common opinion of her sex that a man is always a brute to leave a woman who is attached to him, but that a woman is much to blame if he does.

Art is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.

We paint from within outward - if we force our vision on the world it calls us great painters; if we don't it ignores us; but we are the same. We don't attach any meaning to greatness or smallness. What happens to our work afterward is unimportant; we have got all we could out of it while we were doing it.

El arte es la naturaleza vista a traves de una personalidad

She says it's really not very flattering to her that the women who fall in love with her husband are so uncommonly second-rate.

Marriage is a very good thing, but I think it’s a mistake to make a habit of it.

He was not crying for the pain they had caused him, nor for the humiliation he had suffered when they looked at his foot, but with rage at himself because, unable to stand the torture, he had put out his foot of his own accord.

Aloof on her mountain top she considered the innumerable activities of men. She had a wonderful sense of freedom from all earthly ties, and it was such an ecstasy that nothing in comparison with it had any value. She felt like a spirit in heaven.

If you don't change your beliefs, your life will be like this forever. Is that good news?

We Americans... like change. It is at once our weakness and our strength.

When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character.

Melville, by his own account, spent four months in the valley. He was well treated. He made friends with a girl called Fayaway, swam and boated with her, and except for his fear of being eaten was happy enough.

A mother only does her children harm if she makes them the only concern of her life.

I now, weak, old, diseased, poor, dying, hold still my soul in my hands, and I regret nothing.

I only wanted to suggest to you that self-sacrifice is a passion so overwhelming that beside it even lust and hunger are trifling.

She gathered herself together. No one could describe the scorn of her expression or the contemptuous hatred she put into her answer.
"You men! You filthy dirty pigs! You're all the same, all of you. Pigs! Pigs!

The highest activities of consciousness have their origins in physical occurrences of the brain just as the loveliest melodies are not too sublime to be expressed by notes.

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