Quotes by W. Somerset Maugham

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

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

"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."

"Impropriety is the soul of wit."

"It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life."


Books by W. Somerset Maugham

  • The Red and the Black
  • 60,462 ratings
  • January 1964 by Premier World Classics

    (first published November 13th 1830)

  • Demonios
  • 39,996 ratings
  • 2009 by Porrua

    (first published 1872)

  • The Razor's Edge
  • 38,255 ratings
  • September 9th 2003 by Vintage International

    (first published 1944)

  • The Painted Veil
  • 37,324 ratings
  • November 14th 2006 by Vintage

    (first published April 1925)

W. Somerset Maugham
  • W. Somerset Maugham

  • Date of birth: January 25, 1874
  • Died: December 16, 1965
  • Born: in Paris, France.

  • Description: William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

    His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage, Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he almost literally starved while pouring out novels and plays.

    Maugham wrote at a time when experimental modernist literature such as that of William Faulkner, Thomas Mann, James Joyce and Virginia Woolf was gaining increasing popularity and winning critical acclaim. In this context, his plain prose style was criticized as 'such a tissue of clichés' that one's wonder is finally aroused at the writer's ability to assemble so many and at his unfailing inability to put anything in an individual way.

    During World War I, Maugham worked for the British Secret Service . He travelled all over the world, and made many visits to America. After World War II, Maugham made his home in south of France and continued to move between England and Nice till his death in 1965.