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Maugham, W. Somerset (1874-1965)

William Somerset Maugham, playwright, novelist and short-story writer was born of British parents in Paris in 1874.

This is a bibliography of first editions of Somerset Maugham held by the Library. Later editions are also held in some cases. Each entry can be found on Explore the British Library.  Links to other collections and sources of information are also given below.

Brought up originally in France, Maugham lost his mother at the age of eight. Two years later his father died of cancer and Maugham the orphan was moved to Kent, where he boarded at King's School, Canterbury. His holidays were spent with an uncle in Whitstable. About this time Maugham developed the stammer which made it difficult for him to make relationships and contributed to his shy and introverted manner.

Maugham studied philosophy and literature at Heidelberg University and then in London he qualified as a surgeon at St. Thomas's Hospital. Of Human Bondage (1915) is an autobiographical novel describing his unhappiness and anxiety in early life and recounting his experiences as a medical student. Maugham served in the British Intelligence Service in World Wars I and II. In 1914 he was part of a Red Cross unit in France, later acting as a secret agent in Geneva. In Petrograd he was involved in trying to prevent the outbreak of the Russian Revolution. These experiences are related in Ashenden, or the British Agent (1928), a group of stories which influenced Ian Fleming's Bond stories.

Maugham's travels fuelled his fascination with the Orient and South Sea Islands. The Moon and Sixpence (1919) is based on the life of Paul Gauguin, the artist who rejected France and civilization to live in Tahiti. The Painted Veil was originally set in Hong Kong but after threats of legal action Maugham changed the place-name to the fictional Tching-Yen. The now rare first printing of this novel still has Hong Kong as the colony (the British Library copy is the second printing).

Maugham became a witty satirist of the post-colonial world and wrote over thirty plays, mainly light satiric comedies. At one time he had four dramas running simultaneously; only Bernard Shaw has had more plays on at the same time in London. The British Library holds many of Maugham's published plays, and the Library's Lord Chamberlain's collection contains a considerable number of typescripts.

Today, Maugham is probably best known as a short story writer. His clear, lucid and economical style makes easy reading and his short stories have been reprinted frequently in collected editions. Maugham said himself: "I have never pretended to be anything but a story teller." ("The Author excuses himself", preface to Creatures of circumstance, 1947, BL: X.989/17570)

Short stories
Travel Books
Critical Studies



Other sources of information include the following:

British Library Manuscripts Catalogue
British Library Sound Archive Catalogue
English Literature: A Guide to Resources

External Links

Caxton Club of Chicago: An Article from The Caxtonian
Cushing Library, Texas: W. Somerset Maugham Collection
Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington: Maugham Manuscript Collections
Stanford University: William Somerset Maugham Collection
UK National Register of Archives



Liza of Lambeth. London: T. F. Unwin, 1897. Shelfmark: Cup.410.f.310

Mrs Craddock. London: William Heinemann, 1902. Shelfmark: 012637.dd.2

The Magician. London: William Heinemann, 1908. Shelfmark: 012626.d.2

Of Human Bondage. London: William Heinemann, 1915. Shelfmark: Cup.131.e.18

The Moon and Sixpence. London: William Heinemann, 1919. Shelfmark:

Ashenden: or, the British Agent. London: William Heinemann, 1928. Shelfmark: NN.13962

The Painted Veil. [Second printing.] London: William Heinemann, 1925. Shelfmark: NN.106.78

Cakes and Ale: or, the Skeleton in the Cupboard. London: William Heinemann, 1930. Shelfmark: Cup.403.z.14

The Narrow Corner. London: William Heinemann, 1932. Shelfmark: NN.22561

Up at the Villa. London: William Heinemann, 1941. Shelfmark: NN. 32488

The Razor's Edge. London: William Heinemann, 1944. Shelfmark: NN.34836

Then and Now. London: William Heinemann, 1946. Shelfmark: NN. 36108

Theatre. Paris: The Albatross, 1947. Shelfmark: Tauch.05295

Creatures of Circumstance. London: William Heinemann, 1947. Shelfmark: X.989/17570

Catalina. A Romance. London: William Heinemann, 1948. Shelfmark: a.12360.g.2


Short Stories 

The Trembling of a Leaf. Little Stories of the South Sea Islands. London: William Heinemann, 1921. Shelfmark: NN.7339

The Casuarina Tree. Six Stories. London: William Heinemann, 1928. Shelfmark: 012208.m.1/27

Ah King. Six Stories. London: William Heinemann, 1933. Shelfmark: NN. 20927

Cosmopolitans. Very Short Stories. London, Toronto: William Heinemann, 1936. Shelfmark: NN.25559

The Mixture as Before. London, Toronto: William Heinemann, 1940. Shelfmark: NN.31653

Here and There. Short Shories. London: William Heinemann, 1948. Shelfmark: NN.38735

Quartet. Stories by Somerset Maugham. Screen-plays by R.C. Sherriff. London: William Heinemann, 1948. Shelfmark: NN.38813

Trio. Stories by W. Somerset Maugham. Screen adaptation by W. S. Maugham, R.C. Sherriff and Noel Langley. London: William Heinemann, 1950. Shelfmark:

The Complete Short Stories of W. Somerset Maugham. 3 vol. London: William Heinemann, 1951. Shelfmark: 12275.f.4

Encore. Stories by W. Somerset Maugham. Screen adaptation by T.E.B. Clarke, Arthur Macrae and Eric Ambler. London: William Heinemann, 1951. Shelfmark: 011781.n.42


Travel Books 

On a Chinese Screen [Sketches of life in China.] London: William Heinemann, 1922. Shelfmark: 10055.b.43

The Gentleman in the Parlour. A record of a journey from Rangoon to Haiphong. London: William Heinemann, 1930. Shelfmark:

Don Fernando; or, Variations on some Spanish themes. London, Toronto: William Heinemann, 1935. Shelfmark: 010160.g.8

The Travel Books of W. Somerset Maugham. (On a Chinese Screen. - The Gentleman in the Parlour. - Don Fernando). London: William Heinemann, 1955. Shelfmark:



The Summing Up [Autobiographical reminiscences.] London: William Heinemann, 1938. Shelfmark: 10857.b.2

Of Human Bondage. With a digression on the art of fiction. An address by W. Somerset Maugham given by Mr Maugham in the Coolidge Auditorium, the Library of Congress, on the occasion of his presenting the original manuscript of his novel Of Human Bondage. Washington, 1946. Shelfmark: 11867.ff.2

Great Novelists and their Novels. Essays on the ten greatest novels of the world and the men and women who wrote them ... Illustrated with pen and ink portraits of the authors by Robert W. Arnold. Philadelphia, Toronto: John C. Winston Co, 1948. Shelfmark: 11867.h.13

A Writers' Notebook. London: William Heinemann, 1949. Shelfmark: 10861.1

A choice of Kipling's Prose. Selected and with an introductory essay by W. S. Maugham. London: MacMillan & Co., 1952Shelfmark: 12631.s.12

The Partial View. London: William Heinemann, 1954. (Includes The Summing Up. A Writer's Notebook). Shelfmark: 12652.b.29

Points of View. [Essays]. London: Heinemann, 1958. Shelfmark: 011872.b.57

Essays on Literature. London: New English Library in association with William Heinemann, 1967. Shelfmark: X.908/10987



The Venture. An annual of art and literature. Edited by Laurence Housman and W. Somerset Maugham. [Illustrated.] [no.1, 2.] London; 1903, 05. Shelfmark: P.P. 6701.b.


Critical Works 

Robert Calder. Willie. The Life of W. Somerset Maugham. London: William Heinemann, 1989. Shelfmark: YC.1990.1.359

Bryan Connor. Somerset Maugham and the Maugham dynasty. London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1997. Shelfmark: YC.1997.b.6400

Cecil Hewetson (Ed.) The sayings of Somerset Maugham. London: Duckworth, 1992. Shelfmark: YK.1994.a.3061

Philip Holden. Orienting masculinity, orienting nation. Somerset Maugham's exotic fiction. Westport, Conn. & London: Greenwood, 1996. Shelfmark: YC.1996.b.7741

Klaus Werner Jonas. The Gentleman from Cap Ferrat ... [On William Somerset Maugham.] With a preface by W. Somerset Maugham. [With portraits.] New Haven, Conn: Centre for Maugham Studies, 1956. Shelfmark: 10864.a.22

Klaus Werner Jonas. The World of Somerset Maugham. An anthology (of criticism) edited [and in part written] by K. W. Jonas. [With portraits.] London: Peter Owen, 1959. Shelfmark: 011872.b.67

Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson. Guide to the Maugham collection of theatrical paintings. London: Heinemann for the National Theatre, 1980. Published to accompany a permanent exhibition at the National Theatre. Shelfmark: X425/2169

Samuel J. Rogal. A companion to the characters in the fiction and drama of W. Somerset Maugham. Westport, Conn. & London: Greenwood Press, 1996. Shelfmark: YC.1996.b.5807

Samuel J. Rogal. A William Somerset Maugham encyclopedia. London, Westport, Conn: Greenwood, 1997. Shelfmark: 2725.g.2654



Frederick Thomas Bason. A bibliography of the Writings of William Somerset Maugham, etc. [With a facsimile.] London: Unicorn Press, 1931. Shelfmark: 2785.ct.13

Laurence Robert Mean Brander. Somerset Maugham. A guide. Edinburgh & London, Oliver & Boyd, 1963. Shelfmark: 11880.t.35

Klaus Werner Jonas. A bibliography of the Writings of W. Somerset Maugham. Compiled by K. W. Jonas. [With a portrait.] New Brunswick: The Compiler, 1950. Shelfmark: 2785.ct.14

Charles Sanders. W. Somerset Maugham: an annotated bibliography of writings about him. Compiled and edited by Charles Sanders. De Kalb, Ill: Northern Illinois University Press, 1970. Shelfmark: X.981/3822