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William Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham was born Jan. 25, 1874 in Paris (France) and died Dec. 16, 1965 in Nice. Maugham's parents died when he was 10. He was brought up by an uncle. Maugham was educated at King's School, Canterbury. After a year at Heidelberg, he entered St. Thomas' medical school in London. In 1897 he graduated and qualified as a doctor. In 1897 Maughham wrote his first novel, "Liza of Lambeth", covering his experiences as an obstetrician. The book was a success, which encouraged him to stop his medical practise and to turn to writing. In 1908 he traveled in Spain and Italy, writing all the time. He achieved his theatrical triumph in London, where four of his play were staged simultaneously. This brought him financial security. During World War I he worked as a secret agent. After the war he resumed his interrupted travels. He settled down in 1928, when he bought a villa on Cape Ferrat in the south of France. His reputation as a novelist is based on four books: "Of Human Bondage" (1915), a semi-autobiographical account of a young medical student's painful progress toward maturity; "The Moon and Sixpence" (1919), an account of an unconventional artist, suggested by the life of Paul Gauguin; "Cakes and Ale" (1930), the story of a famous novelist, which is thought to contain caricatures of Thomas Hardy and Hugh Walpole; and "The Razor's Edge" (1944), the story of a young American war veteran's quest for a satisfying way of life. Maugham's plays were mainly Edwardian social comedies. His short stories gained the biggest popularity. In his works, Maugham mainly portrays the conflict of Europeans in alien surroundings that provoke strong emotions. The readers are attracred by Maugham's skill in handling plot, in the manner of Guy de Maupassant. Maugham's philosophy of life is explained in "The Summing Up" (1938) and "A Writer's Notebook (1949)". The author stands for atheism, skepticism about the extent of man's innate goodness and intelligence could be seen. That's whatt gives his work its astringent cynicism. In general, Maugham's novels and short stories coulb characterized by great narrative facility, a simple, clear, unadored style, a disillusioned and ironic point of view, cosmopolitan settings, and a shrewd understanding of human nature. That's what gave W.S. Maugham his world's popularity.
ref.by 2006—2022