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W. Somerset Maugham

Author, Playwright

William Somerset Maugham, CH (25 January 1874 – 16 December 1965) was an English 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.

  • Genres

    General Fiction, Biography, Classics              

  • The Person

    W. Somerset Maugham                               

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Mentioned In 205 Books

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  • In The Enigma of Arrival, he reconstructed and lightly fictionalized this period. The account is much more solemn: no mention of Boysie paving the way, or chasing girls around St. Paul’s and Oxford, or using Capildeo hospitality. He takes a train from the coast to Waterloo station, and stays in a dingy lodging house in Earls Court where he contemplates his literary destiny. The Earls Court lodgings in fact come from a later period, starting with his first Christmas in London. Boysie took him there to meet his girlfriend Carmen Johnson, the housekeeper. In The Enigma of Arrival she becomes Angela, and her real boyfriend is an absent and violent man, possibly in prison. The narrator notices the refugees from Europe, “Asiatic” students and north Africans who are staying in the house. Only later does he see their significance; at the time, wishing to be a writer in the mould of Somerset Maugham, Aldous Huxley or Evelyn Waugh, he does not consider them “material” for his fiction. “Because in 1950 in London I was at the beginning of that great movement of peoples that was to take place in the second half of the twentieth century—a movement and a cultural mixing greater than the peopling of the United States … Cities like London were to change. They were to cease being more or less national cities; they were to become cities of the world, modern-day Romes, establishing the pattern of what great cities should be, in the eyes of islanders like myself and people even more remote in language and culture.”6

    Patrick FrenchThe World Is What It Is

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  • The World Is What It Is

    2009
    Patrick French

  • John Gielgud

    2010
    Sheridan Morley

  • The Wolf

    2010
    Richard Guilliatt and Peter Hohnen

  • The Great Game

    2005
    Frederick P. Hitz

  • James Wilson Morrice

    2008
    Wayne Larsen

  • My Life as Author and Editor

    1995
    H.L. Mencken

  • John Osborne

    2008
    John Heilpern

  • Of Human Bondage

    1915
    W. Somerset Maugham

  • The Enigma of Arrival

    1987
    V. S. Naipaul

  • A Fortune-Teller Told Me

    2002
    Tiziano Terzani

  • The Decline and Fall of the British Empire, 1781-1997

    2008
    Piers Brendon

  • The Book of Spies

    2003
    Alan Furst

  • High Society

    2009
    Donald Spoto

  • The Long Embrace

    2008
    Judith Freeman

  • Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

    1985
    Haruki Murakami

  • Hello, I Must Be Going

    2007
    Charlotte Chandler

  • Very Much a Lady

    2006
    Shana Alexander

  • Bag Of Bones

    2008
    Stephen King

  • Empire of Dreams

    2010
    Scott Eyman

  • Seminary Boy

    2007
    John Cornwell

  • The Open Road

    2009
    Pico Iyer


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