There are 5 critical essays on W. Somerset Maugham.
Critical Essays on W. Somerset Maugham
Critical Essay by Anthony Curtis
3,253 words, approx. 11 pages
[Maugham wrote] novels about the kind of English society he knew best, doctors, the clergy, the military, the lawyers, and the formidable womenfolk who ruled their servants and their husbands with rods of iron: the good people who were the traditional fodder of the English novelist. (p. 35) The main novels in which we find Maugham's anatomy of Edwardian England and its values are The Hero (1901), Mrs. Craddock (1902), The Merry-Go-Round (1904) and The Explorer (1909). All of them have at their centre...
Critical Essay by Graham Sutton
2,921 words, approx. 10 pages
The immense success of Mr Somerset Maugham is not too hard to analyse. Any good journalist can give the reason of it, any good playgoer recognise the reason at sight. He knows his time. (p. 95) [To be abreast of his time in such a way that he is a hair's-breadth ahead of it] is the safe place for the playwright to be; and that is Maugham's normal position. He has the right journalistic flair in playmaking; he is as up-to-date as you please, but never "advanced"; he takes the worl...
Critical Essay by Subramani
1,609 words, approx. 5 pages
The most mature fiction about the South Pacific is symbolic in nature. Works of Melville, Conrad, and Maugham … move beyond the superficial and the ephemeral into the realm of mythology. However, what these writers have in common is that they all make strong instinctive responses to the South Seas. (pp. 165-66) [Those works of] Maugham which are related to the South Seas follow the design of the adventure of the mythological hero described by Joseph Campbell: 'A hero ventures forth from the wo...
Critical Essay by Robert L. Calder
675 words, approx. 2 pages
[The] charge that Maugham was merely a commercial hack pandering to the tastes of a middlebrow audience is unjustified. A young author at the end of the Victorian era wanting to achieve popular success does not write a realistic and pessimistic slum novel (Liza of Lambeth, 1897), an iconoclastic story of a young man's suicide (The Hero, 1901), an account of a failed marriage, from which the wife is freed by her husband's timely death (Mrs. Craddock, 1902), or a bitterly cynical novel of a self...
Critical Essay by John Lehmann
223 words, approx. 1 pages
Maugham's reputation, in intellectual circles, went up and down like the fever chart of a malarial patient, at one moment the awe-struck enthusiasts appearing to gain the upper hand, at another those who dismissed him as unworthy of serious study. What never varied, ever since the publication of his novel, Of Human Bondage, in 1915 (by which time he had become a successful and fashionable playwright), was an enormous public eager to gobble up his books and add to his fortune…. (p. 229) Maugham...
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