W Somerset Maugham

W Somerset Maugham was born in Water Rooster - Kuei Yu Year of the 60-year Cycle of the Chinese Zodiac

Born in 1874 (March 25) in Paris, but of Irish ancestry, Somerset Maugham became famous for his mastery of short reminiscent stories that were set in the isolated areas of the British Empire. He received his education at King?€™s school in Canterbury and at Heidelberg University. He studied in London and qualified as a surgeon at St. Thomas?€™s hospital. He finished his medical training in the slums of the East End of London. He discovered his gift for writing and found material for his novel Liza of Lambeth in the slums of London. His autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage was also formed from his practice in the slums of the East End. He wrote a number of plays with Laurence Houseman that ran in London in 1908. At the outbreak of WWI, Maugham joined a British Red Cross ambulance unit. After a brief stint with the ambulance corps, Maugham was recruited as a secret agent in Geneva and Petrograd. His duty: stop the Russian Revolution. His novel Ashenden in 1928 drew on these experiences. Maugham settled in France in 1928 at a villa in St. Jean Cap Ferrat. Those invited to spend time with Maugham at his villa enjoyed a royal welcome. He wrote Cakes and Ale, a biography within a novel. His theme was private sin accompanying public successes. Unfortunately Maugham was forced to flee his French home in 1940. He left with only a single suitcase, endured unspeakable terrors on a barge crammed with 500 passengers, and eventually settled in the United States. He worked on The Razor?€™s Edge in South Carolina and wrote the screenplay for the movie version of his novel which was never used. Maugham knew how to write concise novels that conveyed relationships, ambition and greed with clarity and reality. Remote locations of the British Empire gave him a beautiful canvas to paint his stories and plays. Maugham earned the hatred of many South-Eastern Asian planters and their families because of his realistic depictions of the chores of plantation life. Maugham?€™s semi-autobiographical essay Look Back sums up his life. Maugham was married to Syrie Wellcome from 1917 until 1929. He had two children; Elizabeth and Alan who was adopted. Somerset Maugham died on 16 December 1965 at the age of 91 in Nice, France.
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