Maugham biography

Somerset Maugham lived a long time; almost one hundred years. He was young in Queen Victoria’s England, when the sun never set on the British Empire, Europe was the center of the civilized world. He lived to see the collapse of the great colonial empires, the rise of America, and to fly in an airplane. He seems to have taken it all.. Somerset Maugham was born in Paris as the sixth and youngest son of the solicitor to the British embassy. He learned French as his native tongue. At the age of 10 Maugham was orphaned and sent to England to live with his uncle, the vicar of Whitestable. Educated at King’s School, Canterbury, and Heidelberg University in Germany, Maugham then studied six years medicine in London. He qualified in 1897 as a doctor from St. Thomas’ medical school. He abandoned medicine after the success of his first novels and plays but he studied the craft of writing as assiduously as he had medicine, often writing out passages of other novelists. He never owned a typewriter but wrote everything by hand. He eventually developed a habit of writing four hours each morning. Maugham then lived in Paris for ten years as a struggling young author. In 1897 his first novel, LIZA OF LAMBERT appeared. His first play, A MAN OF HONOUR was produced in 1903. Four of his plays ran simultaneously in London in 1904. Maugham’s breakthrough novel was the semi-autobiographical OF HUMAN BONDAGE (1915), which is usually considered his outstanding achievement. It made him the most popular author of his time. In 1928 he purchased a villa on the Riviera in the south of France overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In the early part of 1938 Maugham Travels in India, meeting Sri Ramana Maharshi, who he later used as a model for the holy man in his novel The Razor’s Edge. He settled in the United States for the duration of the war, first in South Carolina then in Hollywood, California. With the end of hostilities he returned to his villa and it remained his home till the end of his days. W. Somerset Maugham lived to be 91 years of age..