W. Somerset Maugham

(2380 words)

William Somerset Maugham had one of the longest careers of any writer in the English language. His first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), created controversy because of its realistic description of working class life in South London, and encouraged Maugham to abandon a career in medicine to become a full-time writer. After a lean decade, Maugham achieved celebrity when his play Lady Frederick was staged in 1907: he quickly became one of the most successful playwrights of the early twentieth century. During the First World War, Maugham returned to fiction, publishing the semi-autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage (1915), perhaps his finest work. In subsequent years, he wrote short stories, travel narratives …

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Holden, Philip. "W. Somerset Maugham". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 October 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3003, accessed 29 May 2015.]