W. Somerset Maugham

W. Somerset Maugham was a British playwright, novelist, and short story writer. Born on January 25, 1874, in Paris, he was one of the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest-paid author during the 1930s. Maugham's works include 'Of Human Bondage', 'The Razor's Edge', and 'The Moon and Sixpence'. His writing is characterized by a clear, unadorned style, a focus on human weaknesses, and a wry, somewhat cynical view of life. Maugham passed away on December 16, 1965.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Of Human Bondage

    The novel follows the life of Philip Carey, a club-footed orphan who struggles with his disability and his passionate and unrequited love for a destructive woman. His journey takes him from a strict religious upbringing in England to an adventurous life in Paris where he attempts to become an artist before finally settling into a career in medicine. The story is a powerful exploration of human desire, ambition, and the search for meaning in life.

  2. 2. The Razor's Edge

    "The Razor's Edge" is a novel that explores the life of a young American, Larry Darrell, who rejects conventional society to search for spiritual enlightenment in the aftermath of World War I. His journey takes him from Illinois to Paris, and eventually to India. The story is narrated by an unnamed author who encounters Larry at various stages of his life, and through his eyes, we see Larry's transformation and the impact it has on the people around him. The novel is a profound exploration of self-discovery, spirituality, and the quest for meaning.

  3. 3. Collected Short Stories

    This anthology brings together a rich tapestry of narratives that delve into the complexities of human nature, morality, and the often ironic twists of fate. Set against a backdrop of colonial empires and cosmopolitan Europe, the stories explore the lives of a diverse cast of characters, from the affluent to the destitute, each grappling with personal dilemmas, societal pressures, and the search for meaning. The author's keen observation and sharp wit shine through in tales that range from the humorous to the tragic, all unified by an underlying examination of the human condition and the subtle interplay between appearance and reality.

  4. 4. The Moon And Sixpence

    The novel is a fictionalized account inspired by the life of the painter Paul Gauguin. It follows Charles Strickland, a stockbroker who abandons his wife and children to pursue his passion for painting. Strickland's relentless and uncompromising pursuit of artistic expression leads him to a life of poverty in Paris and ultimately to Tahiti, where he finds a new muse in the exotic landscape and people. His disregard for social convention and personal relationships is portrayed in stark contrast to his sublime artistic achievements, raising questions about the nature of genius, the sacrifices made for art, and the price of personal freedom.

  5. 5. Ashenden, Or, The British Agent

    The book is a collection of loosely connected stories based on the author's own experiences as a member of British Intelligence during World War I. It follows the protagonist, a writer turned spy named Ashenden, as he undertakes various espionage tasks across Europe and Russia. Through a series of character-driven vignettes, the narrative delves into the morally ambiguous world of espionage, exploring themes of loyalty, deceit, and the human cost of intelligence work. The protagonist's interactions with a diverse cast of characters, from fellow spies to enemy agents, reveal the complexities and psychological nuances of the shadowy world of wartime espionage.