The highly influential author of novels The Razor's Edge, Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, and the story "The Letter" (all of which have been made into films), William Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) wrote an impressive 78 books, sharing his ironic yet sympathetic view of human passion and agony with readers from the Victorian era's close to the world after WWII. His works influenced generations of subsequent writers, including D.H. Lawrence, George Orwell, and V.S. Naipaul.
The W. Somerset Maugham Reader presents the full range of Maugham's literary capabilities, from his early works of social realism, to his dramatic tales of love and revenge, to his pieces on travel to exotic lands. Included are stories and book excerpts for which Maugham is famous, as well as pieces which focus on his reoccurring themes: flight from sexual repression, the decay of Europeans transplanted to the tropics, and marriages turned unhappy or violent.
Jeffrey Meyers is the author of biographies of Hemingway, D.H. Lawrence, Edgar Allen Poe, Gary Cooper, and many others. His latest is Inherited risk: Errol Flynn and Sean Flynn in Hollywood and Vietnam. He also edited the Sir Arthur Doyle Reader. He lives in Kensington, California, near Berkeley.