Collected short stories of Somerset Maugham volume four

Consisting of a preface and 30 tales, this is the longest of the four volumes of Somerset Maugham’s collected short stories, made up of 461 densely-printed pages. Preface Maugham says these stories were set early in the twenties, long before aviation became common. The British people who staffed remote outposts in Malaysia were very isolated and […]

Collected short stories of Somerset Maugham volume three

Ashenden had a confident belief in the stupidity of the human animal, which in the course of his life had stood him in good stead. (Miss King) In 1928 Maugham published Ashenden, or the British Agent, a book-length collection of linked short stories, told in the first person, about a British spy based in Switzerland during […]

Collected short stories of Somerset Maugham volume two

‘It’s rather a long story. I’m afraid it’s not a very nice one and I find it rather difficult to tell. I’m going to ask you not to interrupt me, or to say anything, till I’ve finished.’ (The Force of Circumstance) William Somerset Maugham’s collected short stories were published in four volumes by Penguin in […]

Collected Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham Volume One

‘Human nature is very odd, isn’t it?’ ‘Very,’ said Landon, helping himself to another glass of brandy. Biography William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 in the British Embassy in Paris, where his father was a lawyer. His first language was French. His mother died when he was eight and, when his father died two […]

The Magician by William Somerset Maugham (1908)

‘It was the face of a fiend of wickedness.’ (Susie describing Oliver Haddo) This is, surprisingly for Maugham, a full-blown, hair-raising horror story. The set-up The book begins as a fairly run-of-the-mill love story. Young English surgeon Arthur Burdon knew Margaret Dauncey’s parents. When they died he was named the girl’s executor and guardian, a duty […]

Mrs Craddock by Somerset Maugham (1902)

‘Entre deux amants il-y-a toujours un qui aime, et un qui se laisse aimer.’ After the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth in 1897, the 23-year-old William Somerset Maugham optimistically abandoned his career as a trainee doctor to become a professional writer. Later in life, Maugham considered this to have been a bad mistake, […]

Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham (1897)

This is Somerset Maugham’s first novel, the first publication in a writing career which went on to last over 60 years. Maugham trained as a doctor for five year at St Thomas’s Hospital in Lambeth and saw at first hand the terrible poverty in the slums of the area, the drunkenness and the narrowness of […]

Up at the Villa by Somerset Maugham (1941)

‘Don’t be afraid. The devil’s a sportsman and he looks after his own.’ Rowley Flint This is a ripping little novella, gripping and compelling, slightly ludicrous and strangely affecting, which I read from cover to cover in a single two-hour sitting. Maybe it would be the perfect introduction to Maugham for someone who’s never read […]

Christmas Holiday by Somerset Maugham (1939)

It was all very strange and complicated. It looked as though nothing were quite so simple as it seemed; it looked as though the people we thought we knew best carried secrets that they didn’t even know themselves. Charley had a sudden inkling that human beings were infinitely mysterious. The fact was that you knew […]

Theatre by Somerset Maugham (1937)

Her dressing-room was like the cabin of a ship. The world seemed a long way off, and she relished her seclusion. She felt an enchanting freedom. She dozed a little, she read a little, or lying on the comfortable sofa she let her thoughts wander. She reflected on the part she was playing and the favourite parts she had played […]