Saturday, 21 November 2020

Raymond Toole Stott - A Bibliography of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham (1973) - edited by Alexander Arsov (2015)

NB. The following bibliography, except as a tribute to Mr Stott’s magisterial research, is meant to serve as a quick, easy and reliable reference about Somerset Maugham’s voluminous oeuvre. Everything outside square brackets comes straight from Mr Stott, although I have skipped a lot and arranged the rest differently; the only other frivolity I have allowed myself are few minor changes in the formatting. Everything in square brackets is additional material derived from my own collection, from the inscrutable ways of the Web, or simply from other parts of this very book in case of missed/wrong cross-references. A modest attempt to bring Mr Stott’s text up to date and fix some of his errors/omissions has been made. I have not hesitated to include extensive excerpts from his fascinating notes, but neither have I spared him some harsh personal criticism when I think he deserves it. All endnotes, except otherwise noted, are mine. The major sources I have used to supplement Mr Stott are the following: Bassett (G251), Critical Heritage (F175), FMI, Moore, MMC, Rothschild (F186), Whitehead 1984 (B43), Whitehead 1987 (F176).



Raymond Toole Stott


A Bibliography of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham


London: Kaye & Ward, 1973.


First published by Nicholas Vane (Publishers) Ltd, 1956.

Revised and Extended edition published by Kaye & Ward, 1973.

Revised, abridged and expanded by Alexander Arsov, 2014–15.


Table of Contents:



B. COLLECTED EDITIONS [39+13 new entries]




F. CHECK–LIST OF WORKS CONCERNING W.S.M. [160+32 new entries]










         A1.   Liza of Lambeth (1897) [1st novel]

                          A1a.  First edition, T. Fisher Unwin, September 1897. “To / My Good Friend / Adney Payne”.

·     It has been stated that the first issue had the word ‘belly’ instead of ‘stomach’ in line 20 of page 124, but this was not printed in the first edition of the book – despite the claim of a correspondent to the March 1934 issue of The Book Collector’s Quarterly that he had seen a copy of the first edition containing the word. It was in the original manuscript, but was deleted at the publisher’s request in proof. Certainly, it was not present in the first edition. The original word, however, was reverted to when Heinemann took the book over and it appeared for the first time in the Collected Edition.

·     In the New York Public Library is a unique and fascinating folder containing part of the archives of T. Fisher Unwin, the first publisher of W. Somerset Maugham, and among these papers is the author’s description of the novel he submitted to Fisher Unwin called A Lambeth Idyll and the reports of three readers upon it.

·     The description what the novel is all about is in the author’s own hand and was attached to the manuscript: ‘This is the story of a nine days wonder in a Lambeth slum (he wrote). It shows that those queer folk the poor live and love and love and die in very much the same way as their neighbours of Brixton and Belgravia, and that hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness are not the peculiar attributes of the Glorious British Middle Class, and finally it shows that in this world nothing very much matters, and that in Vere Street, Lambeth, nothing matters at all.’

·     The manuscript was first sent by Fisher Unwin to Vaughan Nash, who was one of his regular readers, and his report is dated 14th January 1897. He writes ‘The author shows considerable acquaintance with the speech and the customs of a certain class of the London poor and if he knew how to use his materials his work might possess certain value. But this study shows no trace of any such power. Its details, some of which are revolting and, I should suppose, unsuitable for publication, are strung together loosely and there is no touch of romance, no sense of character, and no atmosphere from first to last. The figures are introduced apparently in order to deliver themselves of the author’s collection of slum Cockneyisms… Altogether I feel that as an experiment in realistic writing the story will not do… But in the event of publication I would suggest that it should be carefully read in view of certain passages which strike me as particularly offensive. The author’s capacity for vulgarity on his own account is considerable.’

·     Fisher Unwin, despite what Maugham used to say about him, did have a flair for spotting talent, and he must have been very dissatisfied with this report. So he sent the MS to another reader for whom he had a great regard, Edward Garnet, who was to become one of the outstanding literary figures of his day. This is what he had to say in his report, dated 25th January 1897: ‘Mr. Maugham has not produced so forceful a study as The Jago – but when all is said and done A Lambeth Idyll is a very clever realistic study of factory girls and cosher life. The women, their roughness, intemperance, fits of violence, kind-heartedness, slang – all are done truthfully. Liza and her mother Mrs. Kemp are drawn with no little amount of humour and insight. The study is a dismal one in its ending, but the temper and tone of the book is wholesome and by no means morbid. The work is objective, and both the atmosphere and the environment of the mean district are unexaggerated. The question for Mr. Unwin to decide is this – the Arthur Morrison public – a slowly growing one, will understand and appreciate the book – though of course it was through Mr. Henley’s backing that Mean Streets and The Jago found publisher and public, and Mr. Maugham has not got Mr. Henley at his back. If Mr. Unwin does not publish A Lambeth Idyll somebody else certainly will… We should say Publish. P.S. The conversation is remarkably well done.’

·     There could not have been a more confident report than this and Fisher Unwin must have been duly impressed. However, it would seem that he was still not quite happy about certain passages in the book or its ‘realism’ for he decided to seek the opinion of yet another reader, certain Mr. W. H. Chess. His report is dated 2nd February 1897. He writers: ‘This is interesting, impressive and truthful. It might be described as an attempt to do for the South East of London what Mr. Morrison has done for the Bethnal Green district. Both from the moral and artistic point of view we should advise the publication of this study… We have said that it is also a story to “take or leave”. A process of pruning down would be absurd. If people don’t like to read of a love that takes the form of a “swinging blow in the belly” they won’t; if they do, they will. Yet one feels that Mr. Maugham knows his people and between those and these there is not a great gulf fixed, after all.’

·     Not all the reviews, it may be remarked, of Maugham’s first book were favourable. The reviewer in The Athenaeum (11.9.97) wrote that ‘Liza of Lambeth is emphatically unpleasing as literature,’ while the reviewer in the Academy (11.9.97) [G0a] after reading the novel felt as if he had taken ‘a mud bath in all the filth of a London street.’

                          A1b.  First American edition, George H. Doran Company, September 1921.

                          A1c.  Second edition, T. Fisher Unwin, May 1904. “To / My Good Friend, Still / Walter Payne”. Title page: “Popular Edition, Revised”

·     Another interesting variation is that the first edition is dedicated to Adney Payne, whereas the second edition is dedication to Walter Payne. Walter Payne was a qualified accountant and a barrister. He succeeded to his father’s theatrical interests and became of the outstanding figures in the theatre world. He died in 1949.

·     A comparison of the text of the first and second editions reveals that the author made a large number of small revisions, particularly to the Cockney dialogue, as for example changing ‘ter’ to ‘to’. On the title page the title of the novel ‘Orientations’ is wrongly spelt.

·     [Amusing mistake by Mr Stott. He is correct about the wrong spelling (“Orientation”), but he is quite wrong about the form of the book. Orientations was, of course, Maugham’s first short story collection (A3).]         

                          A1d.  Cheap edition, T. Fisher Unwin, May 1915. The Copyright page lists later “Impressions” in 1897, 1904, 1906, 1914 and 1915.

                          A1e.  Travellers’ Library edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 1930. Travellers’ Library No. 141. [Rather charming yellow dust jacket.]

·     Contains a new (6 pp.) preface in which the author refers to the changes in the habits and speech of the Cockney since 1897.

                           A1f.  Jubilee edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 8 December 1947. Limited to 1000 copies, numbered and signed by the author.

·     The preface to this edition consists of the Travellers’ Library edition preface, with a 4 pp. Special Supplement to the Jubilee edition. The preface to the Collected Edition contains another 14 pp., in which the author explains how he came to write not only Liza of Lambeth but also all other novels of his youth, and why he is not including them in the Collected Edition. It is a very important, as well as revealing, disclosure of his attitude towards his own writing, and perhaps it would not be out of place to reproduce here a very beautiful letter he wrote to a stranger who out of the blue asked his advice on how to become an author. ‘What I have to say,’ he writes, ‘is the result of my own experience and that is this. The chances of one writing anything of permanent value before one is thirty are small. And if one is a literary man who has to earn his living the probabilities are that one will waste very good themes which one realises afterwards one could have made much more of with greater knowledge and experience. My advice to you therefore is to adopt any occupation which will give you a living and keep writing for your spare time. In that spare time you will be able to write a novel in a year or two and from its result you can judge whether it is worth your while to go on. The life of the writer is extremely specialised and by following some other avocation it is likely that he will gain experience which will be of great value to him afterwards. So far as I personally am concerned I can only wish that I had remained a doctor for three or four years instead of writing books which have long been as dead as mutton.’ (From a collection of letters in the Yale University.)

·     To those fortunate few who have read the first draft of Of Human Bondage which Maugham wrote in Seville in 1898, soon after Liza of Lambeth under the title The Artistic Temperament of Stephen Carey, the manuscript of which is now in The Library of Congress, the force of this argument is vividly brought home, for its rejection by Fisher Unwin (because Maugham was asking £100 for it) was one of the luckiest breaks that could ever have fallen on a young author.

                          A1g.  [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1934. New Preface: B2. The preface, a greatly expanded version of A1e, is of paramount importance as Maugham’s longest and most candid discussion of his early works. Mr Stott mentions this in A1f and B2.]

                          A1h.  [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 1. Preface rehashed from A1g. See B21.]

                            A1i.  [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the full 1934 preface from A1g.]

         A2.   The Making of a Saint (1898) [2nd novel]

                          A2a.    First edition, L. C. Page and Company, Boston, 31 May 1898. Illustrated by Gilbert James with 4 black-and-white plates: (1) “As I rode along, I meditated.”, frontispiece; (2) “You need have no fear about your character.”, facing p. 112; (3) “It was empty but for a few rapacious men, who were wondering about, like scavengers.”, facing p. 222; (4) “In a bound I had reached him.”, facing p. 328.

·     The book was reprinted in 1900 with paper wrappers (1500 copies) and again in 1902. In 1922 the copyright was renewed and the book reprinted under the title The Making of a Saint: A Romance of Medieval Italy by The St Botolph Society (Boston). It was again reprinted from this edition in 1966 by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, who had absorbed the firm of L. C. Page. John Farrar writes a most interesting 20 pp. foreword to this edition giving the history of the book, and quotes a pencilled memo by L. C. Page to a member of his office which is of such interest that it is reproduced here: ‘I purchased the American rights on my first or second visit to London, back in the 90’s – probably ’96 or ’97. I did not make the deal with Mr. Fisher Unwin, an elderly man who was little at his office (although I dined with him at his London club). The deal was made with his manager, a fair practical man who was dissatisfied with Unwin, and was even then considering going into business for himself which he later did, and like Unwin has gone out of business. He, the manager, Benn, informed me that the Saint was a first novel and was purchased outright by Unwin who yearly ran a First Novel competition, purchasing these novels outright.’ Mr. Page went on to say that he purchased the American rights outright for £40.

·     He was not right of course in stating it was a first novel – it was in fact Maugham’s second novel.

                          A2b.    First English edition, T. Fisher Unwin, 25 June 1898.

·     The author has described this novel as the worst book he ever wrote. [Where did the author share this revelation, Raymond?]

·     [Epigraph (also in A1a):

Quanto e bella giovinezza,

Che si fugge tuttavia;

Chi vuol esser lieto, sia,

Di doman non c'e certezza.


Youth – how beautiful is youth!

But, alas, elusive ever!

Let him be light of heart who would be so,

For there's no surety in the morrow.]

                          A2c.    Colonial edition, T. Fisher Unwin, 1898.

                          A2d.    [Kessinger Publishing, 2008. Reprint of the edition by the St Botolph Society, March 1922, which in turns seems to reprint the text and the illustrations of A2a. The latter are a little too dark but not unpleasant to look at; it is unwise to expect more in such edition. The text is clean and easy to read. No blurred pages.]

·     [As a last note, it may be remarked that the Introduction which appears in all editions, the first one included, is part of the novel itself. It is not a non-fiction piece. It is one of those tricks for adding verisimilitude. It pretends to be introducing the memoirs of “Beato Giuliano, brother of the Order of St Francis of Assisi, known in his worldly life as Filippo Brandolini.” Only when one has finished the book, does one grasp the irony of the title.]

         A3.   Orientations (1899) [1st short story collection]

                          A3a.    First edition, T. Fisher Unwin, June 1899. “To / Mrs. Edward Johnston”.[1]

·     In the preface to the Collected Edition of Liza of Lambeth Somerset Maugham says that following the success of his first novel he spent 8 months in Spain writing (among other activities) some short stories and to these he added two he had previously sent to T. Fisher Unwin and so made up the volume which he called Orientations. These two short stories were A Bad Example and Daisy and in Eddie Ayerbach’s copy of Orientations (now in the possession of Leonard Meldman) Maugham has written ‘A Bad Example and Daisy are the first stories I ever wrote, I was then 18.’

·     In the folder of the Berg Collection at The New York Public Library, referred to earlier, is the reader’s reports on these two stories. As they were written by ‘E.G.’ (Edward Garnett) they will not be without interest. Of A Bad Example on the 20th July 1896, he wrote: ‘There is some ability in this, but not very much. Mr. Maugham has imagination and he can write prettily, but his satire against Society is not deep enough or humorous enough to command attention. He should be advised to try the humbler magazines for a time, and if he tries anything more important to send it to us.’

·     Of Daisy on the 30th December 1898, he wrote: ‘In some respects this story is not very artistic. Nevertheless [it] is very effective. It is strong and able, and the end undoubtedly has emotional force. In fact, the story hits one – there is no denying that: we believe the story will hit every reader… We believe the story will meet with a good reception, and will increase Mr. Maugham’s reputation. And we should call it a publisher’s mistake for Fisher Unwin to lose an opportunity of issuing a volume of such stories.’

·     Contents: The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian – A Bad Example – De Amicitia – Faith – The Choice of Amyntas – Daisy.

·     [Only the first story is known to have appeared in a magazine (D1). All stories are reprinted in Seventeen Lost Stories, 1969 (B36). In one of his prefaces (A25e), Maugham was rather devastating about Orientations:]

·     [“I read it again the other day. It sent so many cold shivers down my spine that I thought I must be going to have another attack of malaria. As a measure of precaution I dosed myself with quinine and arsenic. The book was reviewed with kindliness and strangely enough it brought me a commission from Punch to write three stories. I suppose those in Orientations showed promise. Reading them five and thirty years later it seemed to me that here and there they were moving, but they had passages so preposterously unreal that I could hardly believe it possible that I had written them. Their worst fault, however, was their superciliousness. In the arrogance of my youth I sneered at everything that offended my fastidious and narrow prejudices.”]

·     [A year earlier, in the preface to A1g, Maugham was less harsh:]

·     [“As soon as I had taken my medical degrees, with the success of Liza of Lambeth to encourage me and the future before me, for I was only twenty-three, I set out for Spain. I spent eight months there and wrote some short stories. To these I added the two I had previously sent to Mr Fisher Unwin and so made up a volume which I called Orientations. […] The title (which indeed might serve as the general title of all my work) very well described what I had in mind, and though I have not looked at this volume since it was published I have a notion that the stories it contains did in fact in a crude and fumbling way suggest the directions in which I was afterwards to make further experiments. I am conscious now that my imaginary quotation [see the epigraph] seemed a trifle arrogant, for it was unlikely that anyone then should have the least curiosity about my turn of mind; but I meant by it merely that I knew how immature and tentative my work was. The stories were highly praised by the critics and brought me some welcome commissions, but I do not think that in their present form they are worth including in this edition.”]

·     [Epigraph: “C'est surtout, par ses nouvelles d'un jeune écrivain qu'on peut se rendre compte du tour de son esprit. Il y cherche la voie qui lui est propre dans une série d'essais de genre et de style différents, qui sont comme des orientations, pour trouver son moi littéraire.”[2]]

         A4.   The Hero (1901) [3rd novel]

                          A4a.    First edition, Hutchinson & Co., 3 July 1901. “To Miss Julia Maugham”.

·     The Hero is the author’s first book to have his well known Eastern symbol on the cover, and it is the only book in which it appears in this position – upside down!

·     In a letter in 1951 to his agent A. P. Watt, Maugham comments on The Hero: ‘It was one of my earliest novels, it was not a success when it came out, and I don’t believe it has any merit at all.’

·     The Maugham symbol is an Eastern sign against the Evil Eye found in Morocco. The author’s father had the sign engraved on some glass bought for a house built and newly furnished just before he died, and his son adopted and used it on the covers of all his books from The Hero onwards.

·     [Epigraph:

"Rule, Britannia!

Britannia, rule the waves;

Britons never will be slaves."

"Alfred": a Masque. By James Thomson.


"O Sophonisba, Sophonisba, O!"

"Sophonisba": a Tragedy. By the same Author.]

                          A4b.    [Kessinger Publishing, 2000. Very poor reprint of the First edition. Looks like a hideous Xerox copy. Dark and fuzzy. Barely readable. Avoid.]

                          A4c.    [Norilana Press, 2008. Decent modern edition. Clean text.]

         A5.   Mrs. Craddock (1902) [4th novel]

                          A5a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1902. Epistle Dedicatory signed W. M., pp. v-vi.

·     The notable fact about Mrs. Craddock is that it is the only one of this author’s early novels (with the possible exception of Liza) that is today at all readable. Here for the first time one catches unexpected flashes of the later Maugham, with his worldly wisdom and uncanny, intuitive understanding of human nature, breaking through the somewhat hackneyed prose.

·     [The first sentence is rubbish. I have yet to read The Bishop’s Apron, but the rest of Maugham’s early novels I have found quite readable, far more so than many famous (and shorter!) books by celebrated authors with greater pretensions. The second sentence, however, is pure wisdom. I consider also The Hero as one of the earliest, if intermittent, manifestations of the mature Maugham, but since it was written after (though published before) Mrs Craddock, I will not argue with Mr Stott on chronological matters.]

·     After the publication (for those days) of the somewhat ‘daring’ Mrs. Craddock, Mr. Maugham evidently suffered some rebuffs from publishers and editors, for he is constantly stressing in his letters to Pinker that ‘I can be trusted to be suitably moral…’ and again ‘My new work (The Bishop’s Apron) is different than anything I have hitherto done in that it is exceedingly decent and is presumed to be humorous.’ In a letter to his agent written from Capri about 1905, asking him to protect the American rights of Loaves and Fishes, later published under the title The Bishop’s Apron, he declared, ‘My novels have apparently been too shocking for the American public. Only one was published there and that was six years ago by Page of Boston, I think… I don’t know if it had any success. I should think not. I don’t think there is in Loaves and Fishes anything that would bring a blush to the cheek of an American matron.’

·     [Loaves and Fishes was, of course, first novelised, and then published as The Bishop’s Apron.]

                          A5b.    First edition sheets remaindered to the Times Book Club, with new title page, William Heinemann, 1903.

                          A5c.    First American edition, George H. Doran Company, March 1920.

                          A5d.    The Collected Edition, William Heinemann Ltd, February 1937. “The Collected Edition of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham”. Preface, pp. v-vii. Epistle Dedicatory, pp. ix-x.

·     The author made considerable textual revisions to this edition, tidying up the grammar and the punctuation, as will be seen from the illustration of one of the pages which Mr. Grenville Cook has annotated, showing the revisions.

                          A5e.    New and Revised edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 1955.

·     The first reprint of this novel appeared in the Collected Edition in 1937 and was reprinted from the original manuscript with the passages that William Heinemann found shocking left in. Mr. Maugham had forgotten what they were and, on the contrary, says the propriety of the book seemed to him almost painful. However, for the reader interested in bibliographical niceties, the texts of two of the passages are extracted and compared below. They appear towards the end of the book when Mrs. Craddock is contemplating eloping with her young lover.

                                                                    i.   First edition, p. 316: “…person… they might be separated by ten thousand miles, but they would always be joined together. How else could she prove to him her wonderful love, how else could she show her immeasurable gratitude?”

                                                                   ii.   Collected edition, p. 291: “…body… they might be separated by ten thousand miles, but there would always be the bond between them. Her flesh cried out to his flesh, and the desire was irresistable [sic]. How else could she prove to him her wonderful love? How else could she show her immeasurable gratitude?”

                                                                 iii.   First edition, p. 321: “She gave way; she no longer wished to resist. She turned her face to Gerald.”

                                                                 iv.   Collected Edition, p. 296: “She gave way, she no longer wished to resist, flesh called to flesh, and there was no force on earth more powerful. Her whole frame was quivering with passion. She turned her face to Gerald…”

·     The author states in the preface to the new edition that he has made minor amendments in the text and corrected the ‘haphazard punctuation’, but otherwise left it as it was with “all its faults”. The Epistle Dedicatory (2 pp.) was dropped with this edition, and the preface expanded.

                           A5f.    [Heinemann/Doubleday Doran, 1928. According to Norman Moore, it was this edition, published in both England and America, that first reverted to the original manuscript and for which Maugham wrote his amusing preface pretending to be revising the book of a deceased author. In later editions the preface was further revised, and so, presumably, was the main text.]

                          A5g.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1955 version of the preface and the revisions. The preface is even dated “1955” and signed “W.S.M”.]

         A6.   A Man of Honour (1903) [1st play]

                          A6a.    “A Play in Four Acts” [two candidates for First edition:]

·     Separate issue: Chapman and Hall, 22 February 1903. “As performed by the Stage Society at the Imperial Theatre, Westminster, on Monday, February 23rd, 1903”.

·     Supplement issue: The Fortnightly Review, March 1903. Literary Supplement.

·     A Man of Honour was published in two states – as a single play in wrappers and in the unusual form as a supplement to The Fortnightly Review. Indeed, had it not appeared in this latter form, it is unlikely that it would ever have been printed. It may be of interest to recount how this came about. When the play was accepted for production by The Stage Society, one of the members on the committee was W. L. Courtney, who was also editor of The Fortnightly Review. He liked the play and offered to publish it as a Supplement to that magazine. Mr. Maugham was, of course, delighted. Apart from the satisfaction it would give him to see his first play in print, it was a signal honour for a comparatively unknown author to have his work accepted for an important and influential magazine as The Fortnightly Review then was.

·     Just before the play was due to go into rehearsal Mr. Maugham approached the editor and asked him if he would run off a few copies for use at rehearsal and also for sale as a souvenir on the opening night. Mr. Courtney obliged, and 150 copies were put at the author’s disposal and published under the imprint of the magazine’s publishers, Messrs. Chapman and Hall. The only variation in the two issues was the addition of the two words ‘Literary Supplement’ in the top left-hand corner of the Supplement’s title page.

·     The circulation of The Fortnightly Review at that time was about 5000 or 6000 copies, and there is little question that the procedure followed by the printer was to print the several thousand copies of the Supplement, then remove from the type the words ‘Literary Supplement’ and run off Mr. Maugham’s copies. A reverse of this procedure was most unlikely. The ‘Supplement issue’, therefore, preceded in actual printing the separate Maugham issue.

·     Unfortunately, it has not been possible to ascertain the exact dates of publication of the two issues. Mr. Maugham states that the ‘separate issue’ was on sale in the theatre on February 22nd (which the publisher confirms) despite the fact that in The English Catalogue the month of publication is given as March. The fact, however, that the ‘separate issue’ was on sale at the theatre on the opening night definitely establishes that it was published on or before February 22nd.

·     The date of publication of The Fortnightly Review (March issue) is uncertain. The British Museum copy is stamped April 3rd, but this signifies very little as periodicals normally take about three weeks to a month after delivery to be stamped. The scanty evidence available, however, would seem to point to the magazine having been received some time in March.

·     In all circumstances, I regard the Supplement issue in the original magazine wrappers as the true first edition, but collectors of the Separate issue may be encouraged to know that the late Mr. Michael Sadleir, who was faced with a parallel problem in his Trollope bibliography, sides with them. This is what he has to say on the point: ‘I belong to the somewhat pedantic school who give to any item wrappered separately and with no magazine material between its covers priority over a serial issue in periodical magazine form. So I should regard the Maugham A Man of Honour as the true first. But I should “collect” the Supplement series all the same. One cannot ignore a second issue of such intimate interest and one as vital to the complete A Man of Honour as are the back legs of a pantomime horse.’

·     [The above paragraphs are quoted as an amusing illustration of the pedantry of collectors. I never cease to wonder at their incomparable passion for trivial details. What is so “intimate” and “vital” about having two issues which differ from one another by exactly two words – “Literary Supplement” – is quite beyond me. In any case, to readers the next edition is far more important.]

·     A Man of Honour was the author’s first acted full-length play. The separate issue consisted of only 150 copies. Very few were sold and the remainder were sent to the author at his flat in Portland Place shortly before the war and, according to the author, disappeared when the house was bombed. This, however, is not in accord with the facts. The true story of the whereabouts of these remainder copies is revealed in the correspondence between the author and Fred Bason, the Cockney bookseller, author and broadcaster, from which it would appear that Fred Bason sold six of them for him on a commission basis and the remainder were divided, some going to friends as gifts and some being retained by the author.

·     The play is a dramatization of one thread of The Merry-go-Round, which provided the author with several plots for later books. It was written in Rome in 1898. A year after its production by The Stage Society, the play was put on at the Avenue Theatre for a short run with a revised ending, but was not a financial success.

·     [It is the other way round, of course: part of the plot of The Merry-Go-Round is a novelisation of the play.  The “plots for later books” that stemmed from this novel remain elusive. The 1904 revival in the Avenue Theatre was presented by Muriel Wylford who also played Jenny, but it closed after only 28 performances. Both publications and the first production were of the play as revised in 1902. The revised ending from the 1904 does not seem to have been published. See F93, pp. 22, 26. For more about Bason, see C11 & F63.]

                          A6b.    First Heinemann edition, 11 December 1911. “A Tragedy in Four Acts”. “To Gerald Kelly”. General Preface, pp. ix-xii.

·     First American edition: (1912) Chicago (The Dramatic Publishing Co.). Reissue of the First Heinemann edition with new American title leaf. Heinemann sheets, comprising 500 copies, were dispatched to Chicago in 1912.

·     Contains a new 3½ pp. preface by the author. [This preface is hardly “by the author”. It consists entirely of one long quote from Herodotus about the mighty attempts of Clisthenes to marry his daughter. It is one of the very few among Maugham’s prefaces that may be skipped with clear conscience. It is tedious to the extreme and its relevance to the play remains a mystery.]

·     [This edition, save for one or two minor changes, contains very much the same last act as the Supplement of The Fortnightly Review. The revised ending from the 1904 production at the Avenue Theatre has apparently vanished.]

·     [Epigraph: "Ich übersah meine Sache und wusste wohin ich wollte." Eckermann, Gespräche mit Goethe.]

         A7.   The Merry-Go-Round (1904) [5th novel]

                          A7a.    First edition, William Heinemann, 19 September, 1904. “To Herbert and Marguerite Bunning”.

·     [Epigraph:

I bring not only all I wrought

Into the faltering words of speech,

I dedicate the song I sought

Yet could not reach.]

                          A7b.    First edition sheets remainder to the Times Book Club, with new title page, Heinemann, 1905.

                          A7c.    American Copyright issue, lodged with the Library of Congress (not for sale), Double, Page & Company, New York, 1904.

·     Contains Chapter 1 of Part One and Chapters 1 and 15 of Part Two. Only parts of the chapters are printed, but sufficient to comply with the requirements of American copyright.

                          A7d.    First Cheap edition, William Heinemann, September 1916.

·     The break between Maugham and his first literary agent William Maurice Colles, who was a barrister by profession but carried on a literary agency, came about as a result of the failure of The Merry-go-Round. Colles had persuaded Heinemann to accept the book but he evidently did so reluctantly, and only after the author had made considerable cuts. He did very little to promote the novel and when sales continued to drag Maugham put the blame not on the book’s shortcomings but on his agent’s lack of initiative in not pressing the publisher to do more advertising. He then began looking around for a new literary agent and on Arnold Bennett’s recommendation contacted J. B. Pinker who agreed to handle his new novel (The Bishop’s Apron). Thereupon he wrote to Colles from Capri, where he was staying, informing him that owing to the lamentable failure of The Merry-go-Round he proposed to make his own arrangements with regard to his next novel.1 Evidently Colles protested, for then Maugham revealed how deeply he felt about the whole business. ‘With regard to The Merry-go-Round I think we must agree to differ; I do not wish to break into recriminations; but I cannot help thinking that what is obvious to me now, your experience might have suggested to you then, namely, that when a publisher does not like a book and has made up his mind that it will not sell, one might just as well throw it in the Thames as let him publish it.’2

·     In his next letter to Pinker, Maugham declared that he did not want his new novel (The Bishop’s Apron) offered to Heinemann. ‘…he has grown slack of late and he does not seem to me to advertise well. My last novel (The Merry-go-Round) he only sold two thousand copies of.3

·     1 Grenville Cook Collection; 2 Yale University Library; 3 The University of Texas Library.

·     [In his 1934 preface to Liza of Lambeth (A1g), Maugham wrote:]

·     [“Then I wrote a novel called The Merry-go-round. I am not reprinting it, but I look upon it, nevertheless, with indulgence. It was a failure, but the experiment was interesting and I have sometimes thought that it would be worth repeating. It had struck me for some time that the novelist's usual practice of taking two or three persons and treating them as though the world moved round them, bringing in others only in so far as the protagonists were concerned with them, gave a very false impression of the multifariousness of life. I am not alone in the world with the girl I love and the rival who is disturbing the course of my passion. All sorts of thrilling adventures are occurring to the people all round me, and to them they are just as important as mine are to me. But the novelist writes as though his hero and heroine dwelt in a vacuum. I thought I could give a much fuller effect of life by taking a number of people, loosely connected as people are who live in the same world, and giving all their stories with equal fullness, and telling all I knew about all of them. I chose the necessary number of persons and devised four series of events that occurred simultaneously. I saw my novel like one of those huge frescoes in an Italian cloister in which all manner of people are engaged in all manner of activities, but which the eye embraces in a single look. The scheme was too ambitious for my powers. I had not realised that one set of characters would prove more interesting than the rest and that the reader, wanting to know about them, would be impatient of the others. The book suffered also from the pernicious influence on me at the time of the writings of the aesthetes. The men were inanely handsome and the women peerlessly lovely. I wrote with affectation. My attitude was precious. I was afraid to let myself go. But still I think there was something in the idea. Perhaps it could be carried out successfully if the intertwined stories and the persons who acted them were seen rigidly through the eyes of one of the characters in the book. The interest of this character in the various events he was concerned in might give them unity, and the dramatic value of his reactions towards the other persons of the novel hold the reader's attention by giving him the illusion of a single theme.”]

         A8.   The Land of the Blessed Virgin (1905) [1st travel book]

                          A8a.    First edition, William Heinemann, January 1905. “To Violet Hunt”. Subtitled “Sketches and Impressions in Andalusia”.

·     First American edition: July 1920, New York, A. A. Knopf. The title of the first American edition reads: The Land of the Blessed Virgin: Sketches and Impression of Andalusia. There are two 1920 Knopf editions of this travel book. The first is made up from sheets of the 1905 English printing with a new title page which is on a stub. The second Knopf edition, published later the same years, reads: Andalusia: Sketches and Impressions. This edition has the note ‘A small edition of this book (printed in England and bound in the United States) was published in the Spring of 1920 by Mr. Knopf under the title The Land of the Blessed Virgin.’

·     This book was written from notes made by Maugham while living in Seville for eight months in 1898. A draft of the book was ready the following June and Maugham suggested to his agent that he should try and get the book serialised in a magazine and perhaps get a Spanish artist to do some sketches, as to illustrate it with photos ‘would be absurd’.1 But these ideas came to nothing for no publisher would have the book at any price. It was entirely rewritten in 1902 and by the beginning of 1903 it was in Heinemann’s hands, though he did not want to publish it ‘…this year because he has in hand another book of the same class.’2

·     Ultimately, Heinemann signed an agreement with Maugham in June 1904 though this of course was before it had become evident through the failure of The Merry-go-Round that he was not the go-ahead publisher that Maugham had been led to believe. In any event it was too late to do anything about The Land of the Blessed Virgin even if he had wanted to, but having got it off his hands after seven years, this seems most unlikely.

·     However, Heinemann remained under a cloud and in 1905 Maugham was writing from Paris to Pinker: ‘…Heinemann has published my last three books, but I am tired of him.’ Again, the same year, he was writing ‘…There is no reason to leave Heinemann to fare worse, and he will give me a substantial advance. But if I can help it I do not want to go to him as I think his day is over.’ The fact of the matter was that the young novelist was beginning to fall on his feet and his experience with his first publisher, Fisher Unwin who, he declared in a letter to Pinker, did him ‘thoroughly in the eye’ over Liza of Lambeth, had probably done more than anything else to strengthen the shrewd business acumen which, as the Pinker correspondence discloses, stood him in good stead in his future relations with publishers. He was not destined, however, to continue with the struggle to make a living out of novel writing. Success was just around the corner and within eighteen months Lady Frederick had relieved him of the necessity of ever again having to write ‘for money’. He was not to write another novel for nearly eight years, by which time he was a famous playwright, and then followed Of Human Bondage and a relationship with William Heinemann that was to endure for over half a century.[3]

·     1 Grenville Cook Collection. 2 Yale University Library.

·     [In The Summing Up (1938), chap. IX, Maugham had a good deal of fun at the expense of his first travel book – and his younger self. Having described how he read Oscar Wilde’s Intentions, Salome and Dorian Gray, studied the King James Bible and copied passages from Jeremy Taylor’s Holy Dying in order to learn to write in the grand manner, he continues:]

·     [“The first fruit of this labour was a little book about Andalusia called The Land of the Blessed Virgin. I had occasion to read parts of it the other day. I know Andalusia a great deal better than I knew it then, and I have changed my mind about a good many things of which I wrote. Since it has continued in America to have a small sale it occurred to me that it might be worth while to revise it. I soon saw that this was impossible. The book was written by someone I have completely forgotten. It bored me to distraction. But what I am concerned with is the prose, for it was as an exercise in style that I wrote it. It is wistful, allusive, and elaborate. It has neither ease nor spontaneity. […] The vocabulary is sentimental. It does not remind one of an Italian brocade, with its rich pattern of gold, but of a curtain material designed by Burne-Jones and reproduced by Morris.”]

·     [The book was reprinted in the late 1960s by Heron, incongruously coupled with A10. See B9.]

         A9.   The Bishop’s Apron (1906) [6th novel]

                          A9a.    First edition, Chapman and Hall Ltd., February 1906. “To Harry Philips”. Subtitle: “A Study in the Origins of a Great Family”.

·     Copies of the novel, in all respects identical to the first edition except for the addition of ‘Second Edition’, ‘Third Edition’ or ’Fourth Edition’ on the title page, have been traced. In the absence of any explanation from the publishers, who state that their records are no longer available, I had to rely on the author’s memory and he affirmed that the book did not sell particularly well and he believes that the whole edition did not exceed 1500 copies. A comparison of the sheets of the first edition and the so-called ‘Second’, ‘Third’ and ‘Fourth’ editions shows that all these ‘editions’ were run off the same casting of type. I am confident that the novel was never reprinted by the original publishers, and conclude that these additions to the title-page were made to give a spurt to sales that were lagging – a not uncommon contrivance in those days, even among established publishers. It is probable that the reprint of the novel by Newnes in 1908 was inspired by the publicity Maugham had gained through having four plays running in the West End at the same time.

·     Arthur Waugh, head of Chapman and Hall, the publishers, writing to Pinker to inform him that he would be glad to read the MS. of The Bishop’s Apron, said: ‘As a rule I have not cared for his stories as I think they are too gloomy and pessimistic for the general public to take them.’

                          A9b.    Bell’s Indian & Colonial Library edition: George Bell & Sons, 1906. “This Edition is issued for Circulation in India and the Colonies only”. No. 652.

                          A9c.    Second and First Illustrated edition: George Newnes Limited, 22 December 1908. Illustrated by Joseph Simpson in black-and-white: (1) “Ponsonby, have you any – white satin in the house?”, frontispiece; (2) He stood up, and without another left her”, facing p. 28.

·     [This used to be the rarest of Maugham’s novels. It was last reprinted, as far as I know, in 1977 by Arno Press, but even this relatively modern edition is all but unobtainable today. Older editions are usually offered at ludicrous prices. In 2015, finally, cheap modern reprints appeared on the market (CreateSpace, Lushena Books). See A32.]

      A10.   The Explorer (1907) [7th novel]

                      A10a.    First edition, William Heinemann, December 1907. “To My Dear Mrs. G. W. Steevens.” New impressions January, November 1908.

·     Sir Gerald Kelly’s copy bore this inscription from the author: ‘Gerald Kelly from W. S. Maugham, his worst book.’ Maugham also considered The Making of a Saint as his ‘worst book’ and the truth of the matter is that he would have liked, as he said in The Summing Up, to have suppressed much of his early literary work because of its immaturity.

·     [This is the second time Mr Stott mentions the “worst book” claim about The Making of a Saint, and for a second time he neglects to give his source. The reference in The Summing Up occurs in the beginning of chap. XLIV and is specifically concerned with the two novelised plays (A16, A32), not with “much of his early literary work”:]

·     [“There is no need for me to speak of the novels I wrote during the next few years. One of them, Mrs. Craddock, was not unsuccessful and I have reprinted it in the collected edition of my works. Of the others two were novelisations of plays that I had failed to get produced and for long they lay on my conscience like a discreditable action; I would have given much to suppress them. But I know now that my qualms were unnecessary.”]

·     [In the Preface to A1g, Maugham says this about The Explorer:]

·     [“It was the novelisation of a play that was afterwards produced. The chief character was suggested by H. M. Stanley, whose exploits had long fascinated my young fancy, and the strong, silent man, owing to Mr Kipling's vogue, was then very much the fashion. But the story depended on the hero's refusal to clear himself of abominable accusations at the cost of betraying to his betrothed that her brother was not the gallant creature she fondly believed but a worthless scamp. No audience would accept this quixotic behaviour as probable and the play failed. I turned it into a novel because another, The Magician, was returned to me by the publishers, when already set up, owing to one of the partners reading it in proof and being shocked by it. I have always thought that publishers should never learn to read; it is enough if they can sign their names. But this mishap left me without money to support myself during the rest of the year. I wrote The Explorer in a month and very tedious work I found it. On this account I have a great dislike for it and if it were possible would willingly suppress it. At one time it irked my conscience like the recollection of a discreditable action, but I know now that this is foolishness; the public can be trusted to forget far more completely than the author the books he would prefer not to have written.”]

                      A10b.    First edition sheets remainder to the Times Book Club, with new title page, William Heinemann, 1908.

                      A10c.    First American and First Illustrated edition: The Baker and Taylor Co., January 1909. Col. front. and 3 illustrations in black-and-white by J. Graham Coates: (1) Col. front.; (2) “She gave a gasp as she saw Alec’s face”, facing p. 198; (3) “Alec”, facing p. 170; (4) “Lucy”, facing p. 252.[4]

                      A10d.    Second and First Illustrated English edition, Heinemann, April 1915. Heinemann’s Sevenpenny Novels. Illustrations: The front. illus. (“Alec led the way”) and the engraved title-page, printed on art paper and forming a quarter octavo sheet, is inserted before the title-page and not included in the pagination.

                      A10e.    [Heron Books, 1969, strangely coupled with A8. See B9.]

                        A10f.    [Various modern reprints abound. The one by Aegipian Press, for instance, is a truly piratical affair – no publication history whatsoever – but it’s readable.]

·     Mrs. G. W. Steevens, whose name figures on the title page of The Explorer, got ‘the grandest whitewashing that ever came the way of erring mortal,’ according to Sir John Pollock in the October 1966 issue of The Quarterly Review. She was the prototype of Lady Frederick Berolles in Lady Frederick. When Maugham met her she was well on the way to old age, the widow of the brilliant reporter and special correspondent of then young Daily Mail. When she was approaching seventy years, she became manageress of an hotel in Holborn. At earlier dates she had run a large soup kitchen in Marylebone with immense success, a day nursery for the poor, probably the first of its kind to exist, suggests Sir John, ‘and an orphanage for 30 children in the country, only to drop them like hot potatoes when she became bored with them.’

·     Happily for Mrs. Steevens she did not live long enough for Somerset Maugham in turn to see through her. ‘He gave her an apotheosis; but she gave him Lady Frederick, fame and fortune.’  

      A11.   The Magician (1908) [8th novel]

                      A11a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1908. “Copyright, London, 1908, by William Heinemann / and Washington, U.S.A., by Duffield & Company”.

·     Forwarding the MS. of The Magician to his agent, Maugham wrote: ‘Here is the book. I have come to the conclusion it is very dull and stupid: and I wish I were an outside Broker, or --- (naming a best-selling novelist), or something equally despicable!’

                      A11b.    First Colonial edition, William Heinemann, November 1908. Heinemann’s Colonial Library of Popular Fiction. “Issued for Sale in the British Colonies and India, and not to be imported into Europe or the United States of America”.

                      A11c.    First American edition, Duffield & Company, February 1909.

·     A collation of the text with the English version reveals that Maugham made several revisions in the text of the American edition, in some instances considerably expanding it, i.e. see p. 236. The book was acquired by George H. Doran in 1921 and it was reprinted that year.

                      A11d.    Second and First Illustrated edition, William Heinemann, April 1914.

·     The Magician had a somewhat chequered career. It was accepted by Methuen and Maugham signed an agreement with them for three novels under which he obtained an advance of £75. Then it was returned to him by the publishers when already set up ‘owing’ as Maugham says in his preface to Liza of Lambeth [A1g] ‘to one of the partners reading it in proof and being shocked by it.’ Nothing more was heard of the arrangement until Heinemann published The Magician, by which time the erstwhile young novelist had become a successful and popular playwright, having created a theatrical record by having four original plays performing in London concurrently. Then came a reminder from Methuen that they had an agreement with him for three books. No doubt suspecting that Methuen was not unaware of his new standing in the literary world the young dramatist wrote indignantly to his agent Pinker and a long correspondence ensued, culminating in a letter in which he set out very clearly the full facts of the matter. ‘Upon Methuen’s refusal to publish the first novel’ he wrote, ‘I gathered the agreement was cancelled by mutual consent, and I returned the amount I had received upon signing it. Referring to your letter… I certainly have never understood that the agreement was to remain in existence, to come into operation whenever I might like to write a novel. For in that case it might have remained dormant for twenty years. This is a position I should certainly not have agreed to; nor do I think you would have advised me to. If you have not already done so you might remind Methuen that since the cancellation I have published a novel The Explorer; and their silence at that time makes their present contention the more incomprehensible. I should like to hear definitely from Methuen that they have abandoned their contention, for if they have not I propose to take steps to have the Agreement declared at the end by the Courts.’ In the end the affair fizzled out.  

                      A11e.    New edition, with ‘Fragment of Autobiography’, William Heinemann, 1956. Title page: “A Novel / together with / A Fragment of Autobiography”. [My emphasis.]

·     Mr. Maugham wrote a considerable ‘Fragment of Autobiography’ [sic] as preface to this new edition. The fragment begins in 1897 when he had left St. Thomas’s Hospital and had published Liza of Lambeth. Among the many interesting anecdotes of his early struggles is one which tells of his meeting in Paris with Aleister Crowley, who was ‘dabbling in Satanism, magic and the occult’. Crowley became the model of his character in The Magician.

·     [Mr Stott carelessly forgets the important detail that this edition was actually part of The Collected Edition. He corrects this mistake in B2, where he even provides a cross-reference. In 1934, in the Preface to A1g, Maugham gave the following reasons for omitting The Magician from The Collected Edition:]

·     [“The last of the novels I have written which also finds no place in this edition is The Magician. It is the only one about which I have hesitated. I took great pains over it and spent much time in getting together the materials. The principal character was suggested partly by the portrait of Alessandro del Borro in the Museum at Berlin and partly by an acquaintance I made when I was spending a year in Paris. […] I read the works of Eliphas Levi and devised a story melodramatic enough to serve as a frame for the outrageous and bombastic creature of my fancy. But the book would never have been written except for the regard I had for Joris Karl Huysmans who was then at the height of his vogue. I do not suppose that anyone could read Là-Bas now with more than a languid interest, but at that time it seemed suggestive and mysterious. It had a palpitating horror that many found strangely fascinating. It was a new sort of shocker written in a curious, vivid and unusual French. I suppose Huysmans' three most important works will be remembered for some time as a picture of a certain side of French feeling at a certain period. Their influence on current literature, though ephemeral, was wide-spread. But Hyusmans had a cardinal advantage over his imitators: he sincerely believed what he wrote. He was a man insanely superstitious who was convinced of the real existence of the maleficent powers of which he treated. He lived in craven terror of spells, charms and incantations. To me it was all moonshine. I did not believe a word of it. It was a game I was playing. A book written under these conditions can have no life in it. This is the chief reason that has induced me to omit The Magician from this selected edition of my writings.”]

·     [By 1956 he had apparently changed his mind. In the fascinating “A Fragment of Autobiography”, he reveals that Aleister Crowley was the mysterious “acquaintance I made when I was spending a year in Paris” mentioned above, draws an amusing portrait of him and an evocative picture of those dissolute Parisian years in the beginning of the last century, and finally makes the usual disclaimer (seldom taken seriously by biographers and critics, alas) that Crowley was a “model” for his character, “by no means a portrait of him”:]

·     [“I do not remember how I came to think that Aleister Crowley might serve as the model for the character whom I called Oliver Haddo; nor, indeed, how I came to think of writing that particular novel at all. When, a little while ago, my publisher expressed a wish to re-issue it, I felt that, before consenting to this, I really should read it again. Nearly fifty years had passed since I had done so, and I had completely forgotten it. Some authors enjoy reading their old works; some cannot bear to. Of these I am. When I have corrected the proofs of a book, I have finished with it for good and all. I am impatient when people insist on talking to me about it; I am glad if they like it, but do not much care if they don't. I am no more interested in it than in a worn-out suit of clothes that I have given away. It was thus with disinclination that I began to read The Magician. It held my interest, as two of my early novels, which for the same reason I have been obliged to read, did not. One, indeed, I simply could not get through. Another had to my mind some good dramatic scenes, but the humour filled me with mortification, and I should have been ashamed to see it republished. As I read The Magician, I wondered how on earth I could have come by all the material concerning the black arts which I wrote of. I must have spent days and days reading in the library of the British Museum. The style is lush and turgid, not at all the sort of style I approve of now, but perhaps not unsuited to the subject; and there are a great many more adverbs and adjectives that I should use to-day.”]

·     [“Though Aleister Crowley served, as I have said, as the model for Oliver Haddo, it is by no means a portrait of him. I made my character more striking in appearance, more sinister and more ruthless than Crowley ever was. I gave him magical powers that Crowley, though he claimed them, certainly never possessed. Crowley, however, recognised himself in the creature of my invention, for such it was, and wrote a full-page review of the novel in Vanity Fair, which he signed 'Oliver Haddo'. I did not read it, and wish now that I had. I daresay it was a pretty piece of vituperation, but probably, like his poems, intolerably verbose.”]

·     [Quite true. Crowley’s review is indeed intolerably verbose. He exposed at tedious length, not to mention the pontificating tone, Maugham's plagiarising several erudite volumes on black magic. See G3a.]

      A12.   Lady Frederick (1911) [2nd play]

                      A12a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1911. “A Comedy in Three Acts”

·     First American edition: 1912, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Co. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 500 copies, were despatched to Chicago in July 1912. George H. Doran received 100 copies from the 1927 reprint.

·     Lady Frederick was written in 1903. It was produced at the Court Theatre on October 26 1907, with Ethel Irving [Lady Frederick] and W. Graham Browne [Lord Mereston] in the cast.

·     [The play was moved to four other London theatres in the next one year or so and lasted for the impressive 422 performances. Paradine Foulds was played by C. M. Lowne. It was revived in 1913 and 1946, for 57 and 144 performances respectively. See F93.]

·     This was the author’s first commercial play and it brought him fame overnight at the age of 33. He was soon to have the distinction of having four plays running in London at the same time, and the even was recorded by a cartoon drawn by Bernard Partridge in an issue of Punch (June 24, 1908) in which Shakespeare was shown biting his fingers in front of the boards advertising Maugham’s plays. ‘I did not make a lot of money,’ Mr. Maugham wrote in The Summing Up, ‘for in those the takings of a popular play were much less than they are now, and my royalties were small, but I was at all events relieved from financial anxiety and my future seemed sure… I was much photographed and much interviewed. Distinguished people sought my acquaintance. My success was spectacular and unexpected.’

·     [Lady Frederick is reprinted in The Collected Plays (B6, B18). In his preface to vol. 1, Maugham relates with gusto and all his flare for dramatic effect the famous story of his rushing from Italy to London to attend the first rehearsals. The account must be taken with a solid pinch of salt, but it makes for a hilarious read nonetheless. He also has some rather interesting things to say about the side effects of success.]

      A13.   Jack Straw (1911) [3rd play]

                      A13a.    First edition, William Heinemann, December 1911. “A Farce in Three Acts”.

·     First American edition: 1912, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Co. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in July 1912. George H. Doran received 100 copies from the 1913 reprint in 1923.

·     Jack Straw was produced at the Vaudeville Theatre on March 26, 1908, with Charles Hawtrey [Jack Straw] and Lottie Venne [Mrs Parker-Jennings] in the cast. The play was written in 1907.

·     [According to Mander and Mitchenson the play was written in 1905. It run for the remarkable (considering its quality) 321 performances. A revival in 1923 with the same cast lasted for 90 performances. See F93. Included in The Collected Plays (B6, B18).]

      A14.   Mrs. Dot (1912) [4th play]

                      A14a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1912. “A Farce in Three Acts”.

·     First American edition: December 1912, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Co. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in 1912.  

·     This play was originally called Worthley’s Entire. In a bibliography of the author issued by Heinemann in 1934, containing Desmond MacCarthy’s Appreciation [F37], it was stated that the first edition was published in 1904 and a new edition in 1912. This is incorrect. The play was written in 1904.

·     Mrs. Dot was produced at the Comedy Theatre on April 26th, 1908, with Marie Tempest [Mrs. Worthley (“Mrs. Dot”)], W. Graham Browne [Gerald Halstane] and Fred Kerr [James Blenkinsop] in the cast. Mr Maugham said it was the most successful of the three – the other two being Lady Frederick and Jack Straw.

·     [Maugham did say that, in the preface to vol. 1 of B18 where the play in included, but I wonder if he didn’t really mean Lady Frederick. Mrs Dot lasted for 272 performances. According to Mander and Mitchenson (F93), the play opened on 27 April, 1908.]

      A15.   Penelope (1912) [5th play]

                      A15a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1912. “A Comedy in Three Acts”.

·     First American edition: December 1912, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Co. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in November 1912. George H. Doran received 100 copies of the 1913 reprint.

·     This play was originally called Man and Wife. It was written in 1908, and produced at the Comedy Theatre on January 9th, 1909, with Marie Tempest [Penelope] (for whom it was written), Graham Browne [Dr. O’Farrell] and Kate Bishop [Mrs. Golighty] in the cast.

·     [The play ran for 246 performances. It is included in The Collected Plays (B6, B18). See F93. In The Summing Up, Maugham makes a fascinating reference to this play:]

·     [“I had no intention of fizzling out with a passing success, and I wrote my next two plays [Penelope and Smith] to consolidate my hold on the public. They were a little bolder and, mild and unsophisticated as they must seem now, they were attacked by the more straitlaced for their indecency. One of them, Penelope, must have had some merit, for when it was revived in Berlin twenty years later it filled the theatre for a whole season.”]

      A16.   The Explorer (play) (1912) [6th play]

                      A16a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1912. “A Melodrama in Four Acts”.

·     First American edition: December 1912, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Co. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in 1912.

·     The Explorer was produced at the Lyric Theatre on June 13th, 1908, with Lewis Waller [Alec Mackenzie], Eva Moore [Mrs Crowley] and Evelyn Millard [Lucy Allerton] in the cast. It was omitted from the Collected Plays.

·     This was the play Maugham wrote in 1899 after writing A Man of Honour and Maurice Colles, his agent, after submitting it unsuccessfully to several managements, sent it to Lewis Waller, the actor manager. He was interested but said he could entertain it in its present form and advised him to try elsewhere, but if he met with no success, to come back to him. Maugham then withdrew the play from Maurice Colles and sent it to two other agents. In 1905 he altered the play and added the first act, turning it into a four act play. He then re-submitted it himself to Lewis Waller and it was accepted. It was produced in 1908 and folded after only 48 performances, but Maugham still had faith in it and was prepared to re-write the last act for a production in 1909 that was even more of a flop.

·     It was also in 1909 that Maurice Colles brought an action against Maugham in the High Court for his commission on The Explorer on the grounds that it was his introduction to Lewis Waller that led eventually to the play being accepted, and he won his case.

·     [The play opened on 13 June, 1908, being the last and by far the least successful of Maugham’s four plays running at the same time. The 1909 production of the Revised Version was a disaster. It closed after 9 performances! It is funny that Maugham should have been so keen on revising apparently hopeless play; he must have had a lot of faith in it. Indeed, though melodrama never was Maugham’s forte, the play is far from terrible. Some scenes are intense and absorbing, others are prodigiously amusing. Certainly, it is superior to the eponymous novelised version (A10).]

      A17.   The Tenth Man (1913) [7th play]

                      A17a.    First edition, William Heinemann, December 1913. “A Tragic Comedy in Three Acts”.

·     First American edition: 1913, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Company. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in November 1913. George H. Doran received 100 copies from the 1913 imprint in 1923.

·     The Tenth Man, written in 1909, was produced at the Globe Theatre on the 24th February, 1910, with Arthur Bouchier [George Winter], Godfrey Tearle [Rt. Hon. Robert Colby] and Frances Dillon [Catherine Winter] in the cast. It was omitted from the Collected Plays.

·     The whole of the issue of The Playgoer and Society Illustrated No. 6 (1910) was devoted to a summary of The Tenth Man with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     [The play is better than the 65 performances of its first run suggest. See F93.]

      A18.   Landed Gentry (1913) [8th play]

                      A18a.    First edition, William Heinemann, November 1913. “A Comedy in Four Acts”.

·     First American edition: 1913, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Company. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in November 1913.

·     The play was originally produced under the title Grace at the Duke of York’s Theatre, October 15th, 1910, with Dennis Eadie (Claude Insole), Leslie Faber (Rev. Archibald Insole), Arthur Wontner (Henry Cobbett), Edmund Gwenn (Gann), Irene Vanbrugh (Grace Insole), Lady Tree (Mrs Insole) and Lillah McCarthy (Miss Vernon of Foley) in the cast. It was written in 1910, and is omitted from the Collected Plays.

·     The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 100 (1910) was devoted to a summary of Landed Gentry with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     [The play closed after 72 performances. On the next year it was revived at the same place and with substantially the same cast. It flopped completely: 8 performances. See F93.]

·     [In The Summing Up, chap. XXXIII, Maugham describes with his usual eloquence the change of attitude that the last two plays above represented:]

·     [“I had by now learnt all that I was ever able to learn of the technique of the drama, and with the exception of The Explorer, which for a reason I saw very clearly had failed to please so well, I had had an uninterrupted series of successes. I thought it time to try my hand at more serious work. I wanted to see what I could do with more complicated subjects, I wanted to make one or two small technical experiments which I thought would be theatrically effective, and I wanted to see how far I could go with the public. I wrote The Tenth Man and Landed Gentry, and finally, after it had been lying in my desk a dozen years, produced Loaves and Fishes.”]

      A19.   Smith (1913) [9th play]

                      A19a.    First edition, William Heinemann, December 1913. “A Comedy in Four Acts”.

·     First American edition: 1913, Chicago, The Dramatic Publishing Company. Reissue of the first English impression with new American title leaf, printed in England. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 1000 copies, were despatched to Chicago in November 1913.

·     Smith was written in 1909, and was produced at the Comedy Theatre on September 30th, 1909, with Robert Loraine [Thomas Freeman], A. E. Matthews [Algernon Peppercorn], Kate Cutler [Mrs Dallas-Baker] and Marie Lohr [Smith] in the cast.

·     [Marie Lohr was succeeded by Irene Vanbrugh as Smith on November 20, 1909. The play run for a total of 168 performances. It is included in The Collected Plays (B6, B18). See F93.]

      A20.   The Land of Promise (1913) [10th play]

                      A20a.    First Copyright edition, Bickers & Son, London, 1913. “A Comedy in Four Acts”.

·     This play was printed by Messrs. Bickers & Son for purposes of copyright only. It does not appear in The English Catalogue. Not more (probably less) than 25 copies were printed. It is the scarcest of all Mr. Maugham’s works.

                      A20b.    Second Copyright (Canadian) edition, Geo A. Popham, Ottawa, 1914.

·     This edition is similarly scarce, as it was printed for purposes of copyright only.

                      A20c.    First Published edition, William Heinemann, June 1922. “A Comedy in Four Acts”. “To Irene Vanbrugh”.

·     First American edition: 1923, New York, George H. Doran. Reissue of the Heinemann edition with new American title leaf, printed in America. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 100 copies, were dispatched to New York in February 1923.

·     The Land of Promise was suggested to Mr. Maugham by Charles Frohman, who told him that he would like him to write a modern play on the theme of The Taming of the Shrew. [See B18, vol. 1, preface.]

·     It was written in 1913 and first produced in New Haven, Conn., at the Hyperion Theatre with Billie Burke [Norah Marsh] and Lumsden Hare [Edward Marsh] in the cast. In London, it was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre on February 26th, 1914, with Godfrey Tearle [Edward Marsh] and Irene Vanbrugh [Norah Marsh] in the cast.

·     The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 144 (1914) was devoted to a summary of The Land of Promise with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     [The American production was transferred to the Lyceum Theatre, New York, on 25 December 1913, and it run for a total of 76 performances. The London production lasted for 185 shows. See F93. Included in The Collected Plays (B6, B18).]

      A21.   Of Human Bondage (1915) [9th novel]

                      A21a.    First edition, George H. Doran Company, 12 August 1915.

                      A21b.    First English edition (separate issue printed in England from stereotype plates made from the American type), William Heinemann, 13 August 1915.

                      A21c.    Presentation edition, William Heinemann, 1934.

·     Presentation Edition, reset, with a new preface (6½ pp.) of biographical and bibliographical interest, which has not been published in America.

                      A21d.    First Illustrated edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., Garden City, 1936.

·     An edition-de-luxe on rag paper, limited to 751 copies, with 24 illustrations in colortype by Randolph Schwabe, with a new preface by the author. Later produced in a cheaper edition, using the same electros of the type but with smaller margins. The work was not published in England.

                      A21e.    Limited Editions Club edition, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1938.

·     With an introduction by Theodore Dreiser and 16 etchings by John Sloane, signed by the illustrator. Theodore Dreiser’s long review of this novel in The New Republic [G9] did a great deal to focus attention on Somerset Maugham in the United States, particularly among the more serious critics.

                        A21f.    Cardinal Pocket Book edition, Pocket Books, Inc., 1952. “With a new introduction by the author especially written for this abridged edition”.

·     The interest of this new edition lies in the two-page introduction in which Mr. Maugham characteristically points out than an author is obliged to conform to the methods of publication common to the time at which he writes, and if it necessary to prune and cut in order to achieve a worthy object, in this case to put the novel within the reach of every pocket, then he has no legitimate right to refuse.

·     [It is not clear whether it was Maugham himself who did the abridgement, but he certainly approved of it. Whatever one’s opinion of this mutilated version, it says something about Maugham’s integrity that he was ready to do with his most famous book the same thing that he had recently done with ten undisputable classics (C36C45).]

                      A21g.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1937. Contains the 1934 “Instead of a Preface” from A21c.]

                      A21h.    [Modern Library, 1999. Contains the 1936 Foreword (A21d). Bonuses include haphazard contributions by Vidal (G243), Greene (F146, only the part about The Summing Up) and Dreiser (G9).]

                        A21i.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1936 Foreword (A21d).]

      A22.   The Moon and Sixpence (1919) [10th novel]

                      A22a.    First edition, William Heinemann, April 1919.

                      A22b.    Colonial edition, William Heinemann, April 1919.

                      A22c.    First American edition, George H. Doran Company, 13 July 1919.

                      A22d.    Collins Cheap edition, Wm. Collins Sons & Co., Ltd, May 1933.

·     In 1930 Messrs. William Collins Sons & Co. was granted a licence to publish five Maugham titles: The Moon and Sixpence, The Trembling of a Leaf, The Casuarina Tree, The Painted Veil, and Ashenden at a published price not exceeding one shilling throughout the world with the exception of the United States of America. The licence was to last for a period of seven years from the date of publication of each book. This was not an unusual arrangement for one publisher to make with another, particularly those with special cheap editions as these reached an additional market and did not normally compete with the original, more expensive edition.

·     The cheap editions published by William Collins were the 1s. Fiction Library (the ‘BOB’ Novels), The Novel Library published for Collins by The London Book Company, and a 7d. Novel Library.

·     The ‘Bob’ novels as they were familiarly known, first issued in 1928, proved a great attraction and their sale was reckoned in millions. In 1932, when competition was very fierce, Collins improved the format of the ‘World’s Best Shilling Novel’ with a better grade of paper, art cloth binding with gilt lettering, and pictorial jackets with a standard ‘green’ background.

·     In Appendix II [sic] will be found a full list of the Maugham titles published by William Collins over the period of their licence.

·     [These editions, much like later paperbacks, must have introduced Maugham to quite a few new readers all around the world. Compare the prices. Collins sold their editions at prices ranging from 6d. to 1s., while Heinemann’s First and Colonial editions cost 7s. No wonder there was no competition between the publishers and arrangements for republishing were not unusual. The history of publishing is a terribly fascinating stuff and here Mr Stott provides much scarce information that is nowadays hard to obtain. Unfortunately, he is a little sloppy. He mentions a 6d. edition, but it is not clear which that one is, presumably The Novel Library published by The London Book Company. In note 5 of Appendix V (not II), he provides a table for all Maugham titles comparing data from Collins own catalogues and the English Catalogue of Books, but this too is a little confused and not easy to use. I reproduce it here as faithfully as I could:]


Collins Own Catalogues

[Not always showing Year of Publication]

English Catalogue of Books

[Showing Year of Publication]

Title / Length

1/- Novels

7d Novels


The Moon and


250 pp.


30 31 31

37 38


34 35 36

1/- 31 32

L. Bk. Co. 6d. 33

7d. 34

The Painted Veil

248 pp.

30 31 32


July 34 35


1/- 30 36

L. Bk. Co. 6d 32

7d. 34


254 pp.

30 31 32



1/- 30

L. Bk. Co. 6d 34

7d. 36 37

The Casuarina


254 pp.

31 32

37 38

October 34

35 36

1/- 31

L. Bk. Co. 6d 34

7d. 36

The Trembling

of a Leaf


37 38

July 35 36

1/- 32

7d. 35 37

The Letter

[The Casuarina Tree]



Detective Club

6d. 30 33


                      A22e.    First Illustrated edition, The Heritage Press, 1941.

·     Illustrated by Frederic Dorr Steele (14 pen-and-ink illus. in Part One) and Paul Gauguin (11 illus. in colour, incl. front., plus the end-papers). “Excerpts from a brief correspondence between the publisher and the author of this novel” (pp. 5-6). [See a review here.]

                        A22f.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1935. New Preface: B2.]

                      A22g.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 2. Preface rehashed from A22f.]

                      A22h.    [Vintage Classics, 1999. Does not contain the 1935 Preface.]

      A23.   The Unknown (1920) [11th play]

                      A23a.    First edition, William Heinemann, 1920. “A Play in Three Acts”. “To Viola Tree”. “Author’s note, p. x.

·     First American edition, George H. Doran, 1920. Reissue of the Heinemann edition with new American title leaf, printed in America. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 100 copies, were dispatched to New York in 1920.

·     In this play Maugham took up an idea he had used many years before in his novel The Hero [A4].

·     [This is a rare case in Maugham’s writings, the only one in fact, of novel turned into play. Please note that this is not a dramatised novel in the manner of which, though in reverse direction, The Bishop’s Apron (A9) and The Explorer (A10) are novelized plays. The Unknown is a completely independent work. The basic idea is the same – war veteran returns home and finds his pious fiancée intolerable – but the treatment is completely different. The comparison is illuminating.]

·     The Unknown was written in 1920 and was produced at the Aldwych Theatre on August 9th, 1920, with C. V. France [Col. Wharton], Basil Rathbone [John Wharton], Lady Tree [Mrs. Wharton] and Haidée Wright [Mrs. Littlewood] in the cast. In the preface to the Collected Plays Maugham confesses that he had never seen such a moving performance as that of Miss Haidée Wright in this play [and Flora Robson in For Services Rendered (A45)].

·     [The play was transferred to the Lyric Theatre on 20 September 1920 and it lasted for 77 performances. In the same Preface [B18, vol. 3], Maugham again proved to be his own best critic:]

·     [“I took up again in it an idea I had used many years before in a forgotten novel called The Hero and the drama I saw in my mind’s eye lay in the conflict between two persons who loved one another and were divided by the simple piety of the one and the lost faith of the other. But to my surprise it appeared in representation that the drama lay in the arguments on one side and the other, and not at all in the personal relations of the characters. The result was that the play came to an end with the second act; the third consequently was meaningless and there was no trick or device I could think of that could make it significant.”]

      A24.   The Circle (1921) [12th play]

                      A24a.    First edition, William Heinemann, March 1921. “A Comedy in Tree Acts”.

·     The Circle was written in 1919 and produced at the Haymarket Theatre on March 3rd, 1921, with Fay Compton [Elizabeth], Léon Quartermaine [Edward Luton] and Ernest Thesiger [Arnold] in the cast.

·     The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 349 (1931) was devoted to a summary of The Circle with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play. This, of course, was a revival.

·     [During the first run, which was 181 performances, Muriel Alexander and Henry Kendall replaced Fay Compton and Léon Quartermaine, respectively. There were revivals in 1931 (86 shows) and 1944 (110 performances). In 1944 John Gielgud played Arnold and the play was produced in his Repertory Season together with Hamlet and Love for Love. See F93. Included in The Collected Plays (B6, B18), of course.]

                      A24b.    First American edition, George H. Doran Company, 1921.

      A25.   The Trembling of a Leaf (1921) [2nd short story collection]

                      A25a.    First edition, George H. Doran Company, 17 September 1921. Subtitle: “Little Stories of the South Sea Islands”. “To Bertram Alanson”.

·     [Epigraph:

L’extrême félicité à peine séparée par

une feuille tremblante de l’extrême

désespoir, n’est-ce pas la vie?


                      A25b.    First English edition (separate issue bound from the American sheets, with an English title page also printed in America), William Heinemann, 6 October 1921.

                      A25c.    Readers Library edition, The Readers Library Publishing Company Ltd., March 1928, under the title Sadie Thompson: and Other Stories of the South Sea Islands.

·     The book was reissued under the title Rain in Readers Library (1933); as Sadie Thompson etc. in The Daily Express Fiction Library (1938); as Sadie Thompson in the New Chevron Series, No. 98 (1940).

                      A25d.    Collins cheap edition, W. Collins Sons & Co Ltd, March 1932.

                      A25e.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1935. New Preface: B2.]

                        A25f.    [Avon Modern Short Story Monthly #35, Avon, 1946. Indentical contents.]

                      A25g.    [Heron Books, 1969. Contains the 1935 Preface. See B9.]

·     Contents: The Pacific [preface] – Mackintosh – The Fall of Edward Barnard – Red – The Pool – Honolulu – Rain – [Envoi].

·     [All stories except “The Fall of Edward Barnard” (and the two short pieces that introduce and conclude the collection) appeared in magazines between November 1920 and October 1921. See D21, D22, D23, D25, D26.]

·     [Mr Stott also omits the curios fact, unusual in short story collections, that the pieces in the First edition, including the preface and the postscript, are accompanied by Roman numbers. This is the case in many reprints as well.]

·     [“The Fall of Edward Barnard” did also appear in a periodical, but much later (Ainslee’s Magazine, May 1926) after it was published in book from. That’s why it’s omitted from Section D. Magazine reprints are given only when the piece in question was first published in this form, which is almost always the case.]

      A26.   Caesar’s Wife (1922) [13th play]

                      A26a.    First edition, William Heinemann, June 1922. “A Comedy in Three Acts”.

·     First American edition, George H. Doran, 1923. Reissue of the English impression with new American title leaf, printed in America. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 100 copies, were despatched to New York in 1922.

·     In the Collected Plays, Somerset Maugham has this to say of Caesar’s Wife: ‘It was suggested by Madame de Lafayette’s La Princesse de Cleves… one of the most exquisite novels that has ever been written. [It will] to me remain a pleasing memory for the beautiful performance that Miss Fay Compton gave in the part of Violet. The gesture with which she held out her arms to her lover after she had sent him away for good and all and he had miserably gone, had a grace, tenderness and beauty the like of which I have never before or since seen on the stage.’

·     Caesar’s Wife was written in 1918 and was produced at the Royalty Theatre on March 27, 1919, with Helen Haye [Mrs Pritchard], C. Aubrey Smith [Sir Arthur Little] and Fay Compton [Violet] in the cast. The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 206 (1919) was devoted to a summary of Caesar’s Wife with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     [The first run lasted for 241 performances. In the same Preface [B18, vol. 3], Maugham also has some intriguing things to say about the changes he made to the original:]

·     [“He [the protagonist in the French novel] had not indeed the strength of character to play the heroic part for which he had cast himself. I did not see why a man should not play it to the end if he had courage, tolerance and self-control; but tolerance and self-control are virtues that the old learn, they seldom come naturally to the young; so I made my hero an elderly man. This further explained and excused the wife’s infatuation for the pleasant young secretary. […] And since honour, which was a reasonable motive for action in the seventeenth century and which, I suppose, is nothing more than self-respect, would in these days fail to convince, I brought in patriotism to help me to make Violet’s abnegation reasonable. By doing this, of course, I limited the success of the play to this country, since patriotism is a motive that does not travel; it is faintly ridiculous to a German or an American than an Englishman should make sacrifices to England.”]

      A27.   East of Suez (1922) [14th play]

                      A27a.    First edition, William Heinemann, September 1922. “A Play in Seven Scenes”.

·     East of Suez, written in 1922, was produced at His Majesty’s Theatre on September 2, 1922, with Meggie Albanesi [Daisy], Basil Rathbone [George Conway] and Malcolm Keen [Henry Anderson] in the cast. The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 248 (1922) was devoted to a summary of East of Suez with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     In this play Somerset Maugham attempted what was for him something quite novel – a play of spectacle. ‘I had long wanted to try my hand at something of the sort,’ he wrote in the preface to the Collected Plays, ‘and a visit to China presented me with an appropriate setting… I cannot think that anyone who saw the play will have forgotten the thrill and strangeness of the mob of Chinese, monks and neighbours, who crowded in when the wounded man was brought in after the attempted assassination in the fourth scene. With their frightened gestures and their low, excited chatter they produced an effect of great dramatic tension.’

·     [The first run was 209 performances. Meggie Albanesi was succeeded by Norah Robinson.]

·     Eugene Goossens wrote the incidental music to East of Suez. The score was published in 1922 as Op. 33, Suite from the Incidental Music to East of Suez (A play in seven scenes by W. Somerset Maugham), B. Feldman & Co.: J. & W. Chester Ltd, 35 pp. In his autobiography Overtures and Beginners (1951) Eugene Goossens gives an amusing account of his search for Chinese musicians in order to get some idea what they sounded like, and tells how he tracked down an amateur Chinese orchestra composed of working men in a back room in one of the streets leading off Soho.

                      A27b.    First American edition, George H. Doran Company, 25 November 1922.

      A28.   On a Chinese Screen (1922) [2nd travel book]

                      A28a.    First edition, George H. Doran Company, 5 October 1922. “For Syrie”.

                      A28b.    First English edition (separate issue printed in England from stereotype plates made from the American type), William Heinemann, 9 November 1922.

                      A28c.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1935. New Preface: B2. In this Preface, Maugham explains the origins of the book and pays a handsome tribute to his most favourite activity after writing:]

[“This is not a book at all, but the material for a book. I travel because I like to travel. I like the sensation it gives you of freedom from all responsibility. Time never spreads out so spaciously before you as on a journey and, though perhaps you do little of what you had in mind to do, you have the feeling that you have leisure for everything. You have long empty hours that you can fritter away without the uneasy consciousness that time is flying and there is not a moment to waste.”


“I went to China in 1920. I did not keep a diary, for this is a thing I have never been able to do since I was ten, but I made notes of the people and places that excited my interest. I vaguely thought they would be useful for stories or a novel. They mounted up and it occurred to me that I might make them into a connected narrative of my journey. […] But when I got them into some sort of order it seemed to me that they had a freshness, for they were made when the impression was vivid, that they might lose if I elaborated them into such a narrative as I had intended. I thought it enough if I made them a little more succinct and if I tried as far as I could to remove the carelessness and slip-shod character of hasty writing. I hoped they would give the reader who cared to make some use of his imagination a truthful and perhaps lively picture of the China I had seen.”]

                      A28d.    [The Travel Books, Heinemann, 1955. Preface rehashed from A28c.]

                      A28e.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Does not contain the 1935 Preface.]

·     [Contents: I. The Rising of the Curtain – II. My Lady's Parlour – III. The Mongol Chief – IV. The Rolling Stone – V. The Cabinet Minister – VI. Dinner Parties – VII. The Altar of Heaven – VIII. The Servants of God – IX. The Inn – X. The Glory Hole – XI. Fear – XII. The Picture – XIII. His Britannic Majesty's Representative – XIV. The Opium Den – XV. The Last Chance – XVI. The Nun – XVII. Henderson – XVIII. Dawn – XIX. The Point of Honour – XX. The Beast of Burden – XXI. Dr Macalister – XXII. The Road – XXIII. God's Truth – XXIV. Romance – XXV. The Grand Style – XXVI. Rain – XXVII. Sullivan – XXVIII. The Dining-Room – XXIX. Arabesque – XXX. The Consul – XXXI. The Stripling – XXXII. The Fannings – XXXIII. The Song of the River – XXXIV. Mirage – XXXV. The Stranger – XXXVI. Democracy – XXXVII. The Seventh Day Adventist – XXXVIII. The Philosopher – XXXIX. The Missionary Lady – XL. A Game of Billiards – XLI. The Skipper – XLII. The Sights of the Town – XLIII. Nightfall – XLIV. The Normal Man – XLV. The Old Timer – XLVI. The Plain – XLVII. Failure – XLVIII. A Student of the Drama – XLIX. The Taipan – L. Metempsychosis – LI. The Fragment – LII. One of the Best – LIII. The Sea-Dog – LIV. The Question – LV. The Sinologue – LVI. The Vice-Consul – LVII. A City Built on a Rock – LVIII. A Libation to the Gods.]

·     [A number of these sketches also appeared in periodicals (D28D33). “The Consul” and “The Taipan” are the only ones that were later included in the collected editions of the short stories (B7, B17, B20). Mr Stott mentions specifically in his notes only some sketches in “The American Bookman” (September 1922)”, but he lists none of them in Section D.]

      A29.   Our Betters (1923) [15th play]

                      A29a.    First edition, William Heinemann, September 1923. “A Comedy in Three Acts”.

·     First American edition, George H. Doran, 1924. Reissue of the English impression with new American title leaf, printed in America. Heinemann sheets, consisting of 200 copies, were despatched to New York in January 1924.

·     Our Betters was first produced at the Hudson Theatre in New York in 1917, where it created a minor sensation. In London, it was produced at the Globe Theatre on 12th September, 1923, with Margaret Bannerman [Pearl] and Constance Collier [Duchess de Surennes] in the cast. The play was written in 1915 [and in Rome].

·     There was a six year gap between the New York presentation of Our Betters and the London presentation. When eventually it was put on at the Globe Theatre, the program carried a printed note: ‘Owing to various rumours which were circulated when the play was produced in America, the Author wishes to state that the characters in it are entirely imaginary.’ That was in 1923. Almost forty years afterwards, in Looking Back [D186], the author wrote: ‘Gordon Selfridge had fallen madly in love with her’ (‘her’ being Syrie Wellcome, later to become Maugham’s wife) ’and had offered to settle £5000 a year on her. She refused. She was very amusing about him and on what she told me I created a character in a play called Our Betters.’ He called him Arthur Fenwick and the New York Times dramatic critic, writing in 1917, quoted the ‘lobby gossips’ as saying that Fenwick was a ‘quite recognizable character, drawn from life.’

·     [Mr Stott would have done better if he had concentrated on production history rather than gossip. The first night was at the Nixon Theatre, Atlantic City, N.J., 8 March 1917; it was transferred to the Hudson on 12 March. Altogether the American run lasted for 112 performances. In London the play became a major sensation. It opened on 12 September 1923 and it was played 548 times, far longer than any other of Maugham’s plays. The end of Act 2 created a scandal. The prudish censor insisted on changes, but the horrible word “slut” was unwisely left in and it “made the spectators on the first night gasp with horror”. See the Preface to B18, vol. 2, and especially Desmond MacCarthy’s wonderful review in the New Statesman from October 6, 1923 (F93, F175).][5]

      A30.   Home and Beauty (1923) [16th play]

                      A30a.    First edition, William Heinemann, December 1923. “A Farce in Three Acts”.

·     Produced in America under the title Too Many Husbands. See B10.

·     Home and Beauty was written in a sanatorium during the last winter of the first world war. ‘It was an admirable opportunity to write a farce,’ wrote Somerset Maugham in the preface to the Collected Plays [B18, vol. 2]. ‘I never had an opportunity of seeing it, but I believe it made people laugh very much. Some of the critics called it cruel and heartless. I should not have thought it was. It was written in the highest possible spirits. It was intended to amuse.’

·     Home and Beauty was first produced at the Globe Theatre, Atlantic City on August 4th 1919, with Estelle Winwood [Victoria] and Kenneth Douglas [William], and in London at the Playhouse on August 30th 1919, with Gladys Cooper [Victoria] and Charles Hawtrey [William] in the cast. The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 213 (1919) was devoted to a summary of Home and Beauty with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     [The American production was transferred to the Booth Theatre, New York, on 8 August, but that didn’t prevent its failure. It closed after 15 performances. In England it lasted some 15 times longer: 235 performances. A 1942 revival was a flop (12 shows), but another one in 1950 lasted for 180 performances, a remarkable run for a thirty-years-old farce.]

      A31.   The Unattainable (1923) [17th play]

                      A31a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., December 1923. “A Farce in Three Acts”.

·     Produced under the title Caroline at the New Theatre on February 8th, 1916, with Irene Vanbrugh [Caroline], Lillah McCarthy [Maude Fulton] and Dion Boucicault [Dr. Cornish] in the cast. The author had a somewhat unusual experience with this play, which is dealt with in the manuscript section of Appendix I.

·     [Mr Stott refers to Maugham’s rewriting of the last act in the last moment. This may wait until Appendix I. Much more unusual were the circumstances under which the play was originally written. From the preface to vol. 2 of B18:]

·     [“I wrote it in Geneva during the autumn of 1915. I was engaged in work for the Intelligence Department which the Swiss authorities did not approve of, and my predecessor had had a nervous breakdown owing to the strain it put upon his temperament, more sensitive than mine, to break the law; my colleague at Lausanne had lately been sent to prison for two years. I did not know how political prisoners were treated and I had no notion whether, should such an unpleasant fate befall me, I should be allowed pens and paper. I hated the idea of leaving the play unfinished, and I knew it would be very difficult to take it up again after a long interval. It was a great relief to me when I wrote the last line.”]

·     [So next time when you read “Miss King” (A37) you will know which play Ashenden writes in Geneva.]

      A32.   Loaves and Fishes (1923) [18th play]

                      A32a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., November 1924. “A Comedy in Four Acts”.

·     Loaves and Fishes was the author’s third full length play and was written in 1902. It was many times rejected by managers and the novelisation of it under the title The Bishop’s Apron was the first to appear in book form [A9]. It was not included in the Collected Plays.

·     Loaves and Fishes was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre on February 24th, 1911, with Robert Loraine [Canon Spratte] and Athol Stewart (Lord Wroxham) in the cast.

·     [It’s baffling that this play should have been published for the first time more than 20 years after it was written. The first production, mere eight years later, lasted for only 48 performances. A 1951 revival by Peter Coates closed after 24 performances.]

      A33.   The Painted Veil (1925) [11th novel]

                      A33a.    First and Limited edition, George H. Doran Company, 20 March 1925. “…limited to two hundred and fifty numbered copies signed by the author, of which this is Number…”

·     [Epigraph from Shelley: “…the painted veil which those who live call Life.”]

·     [The complete sonnet:

Lift not the painted veil which those who live

Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there,

And it but mimic all we would believe

With colours idly spread, – behind, lurk Fear

And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave

Their shadows, o'er the chasm, sightless and drear.

I knew one who had lifted it--he sought,

For his lost heart was tender, things to love,

But found them not, alas! nor was there aught

The world contains, the which he could approve.

Through the unheeding many he did move,

A splendour among shadows, a bright blot

Upon this gloomy scene, a Spirit that strove

For truth, and like the Preacher found it not.]

                      A33b.    First Trade edition (separate impression from the same formes), George H. Doran Company, 20 March 1925.

·     Mr. Maugham wrote a piece (which was published in Colliers [sic]) for a booklet which Doran proposed to produce when The Painted Veil was published but it did not appear, and Maugham was much aggrieved. In a letter to Charles H. Towne1, he was much dissatisfied with the way Doran had handled The Painted Veil, ‘He promised,’ he said, ‘that he would issue a booklet about my work before it came out and I expected him to give it individual attention. As a matter of fact he just sent it out like a parcel of tea, and let it sell on its own merits, without anything more than a mechanical and useless advertising.’

·     An outcome of this dissatisfaction with Doran was that for a while he played with the idea of changing his publishers, but his natural disinclination for change eventually prevailed. ‘As you know,’ he wrote to Towne, ‘my inclinations are very much to stick to whatever publishers I have. I have been with Heinemanns [sic] in London for twenty years and have resisted very substantial offers to leave them. So long as Doran will do his best for me I am willing to do my best by him. I have received his letter and am about to reply to it. I do not honestly think very much of his offer to give me a larger advance since I cannot but feel that my books will earn than on their own account without any pushing by a publisher and I am not so anxious to make a large sum of money out of a book as to have it as widely read as possible. I seem distinction rather than lucre…’

·     1 From the Charles H. Towne collection of Maugham letters in Yale Univ.

·     [The piece from “Colliers”, presumably another name of Collier’s Magazine, is not listed in Section D, nor has it been traced.]

                      A33c.    First English edition (separate issue printed in England from stereotype plates made from the American type), William Heinemann Ltd., 23 April 1925.

·     The first issue of the first English edition of The Painted Veil, which consists at the most of 74 copies, has a cancel title and its text entirely in unaltered state with Hong Kong, Happy Valley and The Peak referred to as such instead of the later issue version of Tching-Yen, Pleasant Valley and The Mount. Kowloon is changed to Lushan, and all references to Canton because of its proximity to Hong Kong have been obliterated (or such was the intention).

·     There are three states of the first issue. The first state of The Painted Veil was never issued (so far as is known). In the second state the reverse of the half-title lists 8 titles by the same author with a review of each book, in the third state twenty-six of the author’s works are mentioned.

·     In the second issue, first state Hong Kong etc. has been changed to Tching-Yen throughout by the insertion of cancelled leaves, and an Author’s Note inserted between the title leaf and the leaf recording the single-line quotation. The half-title is now a single inset.

·     In the final version the whole book was reimposed, the copies of the original sheets with a full set of cancellans gatherings replacing the cancellant leaves.

·     The extraordinary complexity of the various issues and states of The Painted Veil demand at least an attempted explanation. It arose out of two threatened libel actions which necessitated drastic alterations in the text. The first was during the serialisation of the story in Nash’s Magazine [24 December 1924 – 25 July 1925] when some people having the same names as the hero and heroine Lane brought an action for libel, which was settle for 250. The author says that, as a result of this action, he changed the name to Fane. Actually, during the run of the English serialisation, he changed it to Forr, and it was only in the final published form the name became Fane. The second alteration in the text (and a major one) occurred when the Assistant Secretary of the Hong Kong Government protested against the setting of the story and to avoid further trouble the author changed the names of the places. The second protest, however, was not made until two printings (each of 4000) had been run off and a large number of press copies actually dispatched. The copies were recalled but not all the recipients responded and 74 copies of the two states were unaccounted for. Most of these were review copies which, on some pretext or other, were not returned. [See also D52a.]  

                      A33d.    Collins Cheap edition, W. Collins Sons & Co Ltd, February 1930. “Author’s Note”, p. 8. [See A33c.]

                      A33e.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1934. New Preface: B2.]

                        A33f.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 2 (B21). Preface rehashed from A33e.]

                      A33g.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1934 Preface.]

      A34.   The Casuarina Tree (1926) [3rd short story collection]

                      A34a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., 2 September 1926. An “author’s note”, pp. vii-viii, a generic title of the eponymous preface, no doubt.

·     The Outstation, a story by W. Somerset Maugham, edited by Max Moser, was published separately in Bern, Switzerland, by A. Francke AG.1942. (Collection of English Texts for use in Schools, v. 57). Stiff orange wraps. 40 p. 19½ cm. The work went into several impressions, and one or two editions. It was still being published in 1955.

·     [This is probably a simplified version of the original. Heaven knows why the garrulous Mr Stott decided to mention it here. On the other hand, he is suspiciously silent about this “Author’s Note”. It is not in the description of the First American edition and I know nothing about it in later editions, for example Heinemann’s Cheap Edition from 1926. It is probably a variant title of the preface that was later changed to “The Casuarina Tree”.]

                      A34b.    First American edition, George H. Doran, 17 September 1926. “The Casuarina Tree”, pp. v-vi.

·     Contents: The Casuarina Tree [preface] – Before the Party – P. & O. – The Outstation – The Force of Circumstance – The Yellow Streak – The Letter – Postscript.

·     [All six stories appeared in magazines between December 1922 and August 1925. See D35, D36, D41, D46, D48 and D58. “The Letter” is the only one that also appeared in book form prior to its “official release” in this collection. See C5.]

                      A34c.    Collins Detective Club edition, Wm. Collins Sons & Co. Ltd., January 1930, under the title The Letter: Stories of Crime. See A22d.

      A35.   The Constant Wife (1927) [19th play]

                      A35a.    First edition, George H. Doran Company, April 1927. “A Comedy in Three Acts”. Front. port. of Ethel Barrymore, tipped in.

                      A35b.    First English edition, William Heinemann, September 1927. Reissue of the American impression with new English title leaf. Doran sheets, consisting of 750 copies, were dispatched to London in September 1927.

·     The Constant Wife was first produced in America at the Ohio Theatre [Cleveland] on November 1, 1926, with Ethel Barrymore [Constance Middleton], Mabel Terry-Lewis [Mrs Culver] and C. Aubrey Smith [John Middleton] in the cast. In London, the roles were taken by Mary Jerrold [Mrs Culver], Fay Compton [Constance] and Léon Quartermaine [John].

·     [The American production was transferred to the Maxine Elliott Theatre, New York, on 29 November and, thanks largely to Ethel Barrymore, was a great success that lasted for 295 performances. Not so in England. The play opened on 6 April 1927 at the Strand Theatre, but everything was over after mere 70 performances. Revivals in 1937 and 1946 fared a good deal worse, managing only 36 and 26 performances, respectively.]

      A36.   The Letter (1927) [20th play]

                      A36a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., June 1927. “A Play in Three Acts”.

·     The Letter, with its two endings, is a particularly interesting example of the author’s dramatic technique. It was produced at the Playhouse on February 24, 1927, with Gladys Cooper [Leslie Crosbie] and Leslie Faber [Howard Joyce] in the cast. Not included in the Collected Plays.

·     The whole of the issue of The Play Pictorial No. 30          2 (1927) was devoted to a summary of The Letter, with excerpts from the dialogue as captions to the photographs illustrating scenes from the play.

·     [Based on the eponymous short story (D46), the only one turned into play by the author himself, this was one of Maugham’s hits. The first run was of the remarkable 338 performances. The play is reprinted, with both endings, in B47. The original ending has Leslie recalling the murder as a monologue. The alternative shows it on the stage as a “flashback”. The final line is the same in both versions: “With all my heart I still love the man I killed.”]

                      A36b.    First American edition, George H. Doran Company, September 1927. Front. port. of Katharine Cornell, tipped in.

·     [Katherine Cornell was the first Leslie Crosbie on Broadway where the play opened on 26 September 1927 in the Morosco Theatre and closed 104 performances later.]

      A37.   Ashenden (1928) [4th short story collection]

                      A37a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., 29 March 1928. Dedicated to Gerald Kelly.

·     Contents: [1.] R – [2.] A Domiciliary Visit – [3.] Miss King – [4.] The Hairless Mexican – [5.] The Dark Woman – [6.] The Greek – [7.] A Trip to Paris – [8.] Giulia Lazzari – [9.] Gustav – [10.] The Traitor – [11.] Behind the Scenes – [12.] His Excellency – [13.] The Flip of a Coin – [14.] A Chance Acquaintance – [15.] Love and Russian Literature – [16.] Mr. Harrington's Washing.

·     [Mr Stott forgets to mention that in many later editions the contents are numbered and, more importantly, 15 of the 16 chapters were merged into the six well-known stories (“The Flip of a Coin” was left out); chap. 1–3 = “Miss King”; chap. 4–6 = “The Hairless Mexican”; chap. 7–8 = “Giulia Lazzari”; chap. 9–10 = “The Traitor”; chap. 11–12 = “His Excellency”; chap. 14–16 = “Mr. Harrington's Washing”.]

                      A37b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 30 March 1928.

·     In 1941 Doubleday, Doran reprinted Ashenden and a new 7-page preface by the author on his feelings about this book was included for the first time in this edition.

·     [As a matter of fact, only the last three paragraphs, a page and a half, are new. The rest five pages are straightforward reprint of the 1934 Preface for The Collected Edition (A37d). The new parts contain some interesting remarks about the changes in espionage that might have taken place between the wars as well as the famous reference to Dr Goebbels:]

·     [“I have heard it suggested that the service is less efficiently conducted than it was when I was a very obscure and insignificant member of it, but whether this is so I have no means of telling. The circumstances are different and I daresay more difficult to deal with. At that time the nationals of neutral countries were allowed considerable liberty of movement and it was possible by their means to get much useful information; but now, taught presumably by past experience, the authorities are watchful and it would go ill with any alien who displayed unreasonable curiosity.]


[Though twenty years have passed since these stories were written I cannot think they are entirely out of date, since till quite recently, I am told, they have been required reading for persons entering the Department; and early in this war Dr Goebbels, speaking over the air, taking one of them as a literal statement of recent facts, gave it as an example of British cynicism and brutality.”]

                      A37c.    Cheap Collins edition, Wm. Collins Sons & Co., Ltd, January 1934. See A22d.

                      A37d.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1934. New Preface: B2.]

                      A37e.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1934 Preface.]

      A38.   The Sacred Flame (1928) [21st play]

                      A38a.    First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., November 1928. “A Play in Three Acts”. “To / His Friend / Messmore Kendall / The Author / Dedicates This Play”.

·     [Epigraph from Coleridge:

All thoughts, all passions, all delights,

Whatever stirs this mortal frame,

All are but ministers of Love,

And feed his sacred flame.]

·     The Sacred Flame was produced first in New York in November 1929 where it was a ‘flop’, and then in February 1929. In this play the author attempted an experiment – to introduce a literary dialogue instead of naturalistic speech. It was quite a success, but the author did not repeat the experiment. [See the preface to vol. 3 of The Collected Plays (B18).]

                      A38b.    First English edition, William Heinemann, Ltd., February 1929.

·     Title-page dated 1928. Reissue of the American impression with new English title leaf. Doubleday, Doran sheets consisting of 1000 copies were dispatched to London in 1928. Reprinted 1931 (778 copies) also with sheets from America.

·     [The play was first presented by its dedicatee, Messmore Kendall, at the Belasco Theatre, Washington, on 12 November 1928, and subsequently at the Henry Miller Theatre, New York, but it closed after 24 performances. In London it was first presented by Gladys Cooper (who also played Stella) at the Playhouse on 8 February 1929 and it managed the respectable 209 performances. It starred Mary Jerrold (Mrs Tabret), Clare Eames (Nurse), C. V. France (Major Liconda) and David Hawthorne (Dr Harvester).]

      A39.   The Gentleman in the Parlour(1930) [3rd travel book]

                      A39a.    First edition, William Heinemann, Ltd., February 1930. Subtitled “A Record of a Journey from Rangoon to Haiphong”.

                      A39b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 18 April 1930. “Copyright, 1930 / by Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc.” & “Copyright, 1929 / by International Magazine Company Inc.”

                      A39c.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1935. New Preface: B2.]

                      A39d.    [The Travel Books, Heinemann, 1955 (B25). Preface largely rehashed from A39c, but the opening paragraph does contain some fascinating original stuff.]

                      A39e.    [Vintage Classics, 2001. Contains the 1935 Preface.]

[Five chapters, with minor changes (usually in the opening paragraphs), were later included in B17 as short stories: chap. VI = “Mabel”; chap. X = “Masterson”; chap. XXXII = Princess September; chap. XXXIV = A Marriage of Convenience; chapter XLIII = “Mirage”. All of them were also published in magazines between 1922 and 1929. See D34, D45, D83, D84 and D85.]

      A40.   Cakes and Ale (1930) [12th novel]

                      A40a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 29 September 1930. Subtitled “Or The Skeleton in the Cupboard”. See D86.

                      A40b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 3 October 1930.

                      A40c.    Another edition, with a special Introduction by the Author, Modern Library, 1950. “With a special introduction for this edition by Mr. Maugham”.

·     Contains a new 8 pp. introduction by the author, in which he admits that the character of Alroy Kear in Cakes and Ale was based on Hugh Walpole. He confessed that Walpole had been in his mind when he described the character of Alroy Kear. He made the excuse that it was his belief that ‘no author can create a character out of nothing. He must have a model to give him a starting point; but hen his imagination goes to work, he builds him up, adding a trait here, a trait there, which his model did not possess... It is only in this way that a novelist can give his characters the intensity, the reality which makes them not only plausible, but convincing.’

·     According to Alec Waugh, Cakes and Ale ruined the last ten years of Walpole’s life. Accounts of this remarkable controversy are to be found in Hart-Davis’s Huge Walpole: A Biography (1952) and Myrick Land’s The Fine Art of Literary Mayhem (1963). See also F30.

·     [Remarkable controversy, indeed!  There is another controversy in this edition that I find more remarkable but nobody else seems to care about it.[6] As for the Roy-Hugh scandal, an extensive quotation from Maugham’s preface gives a much better idea than Mr Stott’s highly selective treatment. Here it goes:]

·     [“It had but just been published when a letter delivered by hand was brought into me at my lodgings in Half Moon Street. It was from Hugh Walpole. He was on the committee of the English Book Society and had taken my novel to bed with him to read it with a view of recommending it as the book of the month. As he read, it was born in upon him that in the character of Alroy Kear I had drawn what seemed to him a cruel portrait of himself. Hugh Walpole then was the most prominent member of that body of writers who attempt by seizing every opportunity to keep in the public eye, by getting on familiar terms with critics so that their books may be favourably reviewed, by currying favor wherever it can serve them, to attain success which their merit scarcely deserves. They attempt by push and pull to make up for their lack of talent. It was true that I had had Hugh Walpole in mind when I devised the character to whom I gave the name of Alroy Kear. No author can create a character out of nothing. He must have a model to give him a starting point; but then his imagination goes to work, he builds him up, adding a trait here, a trait there, which his model did not possess, and when he has finished with him the complete character he presents to the reader has little in him of the person who had offered the first suggestion. It is only thus that a novelist can give his characters the intensity, the reality which makes them not only plausible, but convincing. I had no wish to hurt Hugh Walpole's feelings. He was a genial creature and he had friends who, though they were apt to laugh at him, were genuinely attached to him. He was easy to like, but difficult to respect. When I devised the character of Alroy Kear I did all I could to cover my tracks; I made him a sportsman who rode to hounds, played tennis and golf much better than most, and an amorist who skillfully avoided the entanglement of marriage. None of this could be said of Hugh Walpole. When I replied to his letter I told him this, and I added that I had taken one characteristic from an author we both knew and another from another, and moreover that above all I had put in Alroy Kear a great deal of myself. I have never been unaware of my own defects and I have never regarded them with complacency.”]


[“But the fact remained that I had given Alroy Kear certain traits, certain discreditable foibles which Hugh Walpole too notoriously had, so that few people in the literary world of London failed to see that he had been my model.”]

·     [Few years later, in the preface to vol. 1 of B21, Maugham further clarified the issue by stating that Walpole was “in part my model”. He also repeated one of his famous dictums, that “we are more apt to recognise persons by their defects than by their merits”, which for me concludes the matter. It is no coincidence that he first expressed in print this profound observation in 1931, just one year after the publication of Cakes and Ale. See A42.]

·     [As for the Edward-Thomas “controversy”:]

·     [“When Cakes and Ale was first published a lot of fuss was made in the papers because in the character I had called Edward Driffield I was supposed to have had Thomas Hardy in mind. It was in vain that I denied it. It was in vain that I pointed out to the journalists who came to question me how different the life of my hero was from that of Thomas Hardy. It is true that both were of peasant stock, that both had written novels of life in the English countryside, that both had been twice married and that both in their old age had achieved fame. But that was the beginning and the end of the resemblance. I met Thomas Hardy but once and that was at a dinner party in London when the ladies, as is the custom in England, had retired from the dining-room to leave the men to drink their port and over coffee and brandy discuss the affairs of state. […] I have no recollection of what we talked about on that occasion and remember only that I took away with me the impression of a small, grey, tired, retiring man who was, though not in the least embarrassed to be at such a grand party as that was, no more intimately concerned with it than if he had been a member of the audience at a play. […] There was certainly nothing in him of the somewhat freakish and ribald attitude towards life which was characteristic in his old age of Edward Driffield.”]

·     [“I think the newspaper men only identified my character with Thomas Hardy because when my book was written he had recently died. Otherwise they might just as easily have thought of Tennyson or Meredith. I had had occasion to see old and eminent writers receive the homage of their admirers, and as I watched them I had sometimes asked myself whether at such moments their minds ever carried them back to their obscure and tumultuous youth and whether when they looked at the ladies who gazed at them, their eyes misty with adoration, or listened gravely to the earnest young men who told how great an influence their works had had on them, they did not chuckle within themselves and with amusement wonder what those admirers would say if they knew the whole truth about them. I asked myself whether sometimes they did not grow impatient with the reverence with which they were treated. I asked myself whether they greatly relished being perched up on a pedestal.”]


·     [“In point of fact I founded Edward Driffield on an obscure writer who settled with his wife and children in the small town of Whitstable, of which my uncle and guardian was vicar. I do not remember his name. I don’t think he ever amounted to anything and he must be long since dead. He was the first author I had ever met, and though my uncle strongly disapproved of my association with him, I used to slip away to see him whenever I had the chance. His conversation thrilled me. It was a shock to me and a satisfaction to my uncle when one day he vanished from the town with all his debts unpaid.”]

                      A40d.    Eightieth Birthday edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 25th January 1954.

·     “With an Original Lithograph and decorations by Graham Sutherland”. Limited to 1000 numbered copies signed by the Author and the Artist. Facsimile reproduction of the first and last two pages of the orig. MS. Preface on pp. v-xii [probably the one from 1934, see A40f.] Price: £5 5s.

                      A40e.    The Folio Society edition, May 1970.

                        A40f.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1934. New Preface: B2.]

·     [In 1934 Maugham was more evasive about the foundations of his characters, understandably so considering the outstanding superficiality and passion for scandals of the literary circles. Nevertheless, he wrote about Kear-Walpole’s most notorious characteristic with sympathy and understanding:]

·     [“I am told that two or three writers thought themselves aimed at in the character of Alroy Kear. They were under a misapprehension. This character was a composite portrait: I took the appearance from one writer, the obsession with good society from another, the heartiness from a third, the pride in athletic prowess from a fourth, and a great deal of myself. For I have a grim capacity for seeing my own absurdity and I find in myself much to excite my ridicule. I am inclined to think that this is why I see people (if I am to believe what I am frequently told and frequently read of myself) in a less flattering light than many authors who have not this unfortunate idiosyncrasy. For all the characters that we create are but copies of ourselves. It may be of course that they really are nobler, more disinterested, virtuous, and spiritual than I. It is very natural that being godlike they should create men in their own image. When I wanted to draw the portrait of a writer who used every means of advertisement possible to assist the diffusion of his works I had no need to fix my attention on any particular person. The practice is too common for that. Nor can one help feeling sympathy for it. Every year hundreds of books, many of considerable merit, pass unnoticed. Each one has taken the author months to write, he may have had it in his head for years; he has put into it something of himself which is lost for ever, it is heart-rending to think how great are the chances that it will be disregarded in the press of matter that weighs down the critics' tables and burdens the booksellers' shelves. It is not unnatural that he should use what means he can to attract the attention of the public.”]

·     [So much for Cakes and Ale.[7]]

                      A40g.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 1. Preface rehashed from A40c.]

                      A40h.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1934 Preface from A40f.]

      A41.   The Bread-Winner (1930) [22nd play]

                      A41a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., 29 September 1930. “A Comedy in One Act”.

·     The Breadwinner was written in 1930. It was produced at the Vaudeville Theatre on September 30, 1930, with Jack Hawkins [Patrick Battle], Marie Lohr [Margery Battle] and Peggy Ashcroft [Judy Battle] in the cast.

·     [Mr Stott apparently never read or saw this play. He missed Ronald Squire who played the protagonist, Charles Battle. The play was a success (158 performances), though revivals in 1944 (30) and 1953 (31) were far less successful. This is Maugham’s only play in which the action is continuous: “the curtain in lowered twice during performance” only “to rest the audience”, as a note in the published version says. Cf. Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as another example of continuous action.]

                      A41b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., October 1930.

      A42.   Six Stories Written in the First Person Singular (1931) [5th short story collection]

                      A42a.    First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 17 September 1931. Introduction, pp. vii-x.

                      A42b.    First English edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 28 September 1931. Introduction, pp. vii-xi.

·     In the Zipkin copy in the University of Texas, Maugham has written: ‘The Alien Corn was first published in Florence by Gino Orioli.’ If the author’s memory was not at fault, then this indeed is a startling revelation, as no copy to my knowledge has ever emerged from its Italian demesne.

                      A42c.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1934. New “Preface to the Collected Edition”, B2. Contains also the original introduction (without title).]

                      A42d.    [Avon Modern Short Story Monthly #8, Avon, 1943. Reprints 5/6 stories plus “A Marriage of Convenience” (late version, see D84) but without “The Alien Corn”, and probably without the prefaces either.]

·     Contents: [introduction] – Virtue – The Round Dozen – The Human Element – Jane – The Alien Corn – The Creative Impulse.

·     [All stories appeared in magazines between April 1923 and August 1931. See D37, D44, D65, D88, D89 and D94.]

·     [The original introduction is a fascinating discourse on the art of character creation. It is the only place I know of where Maugham admitted to have drawn a portrait from real life (who became Mortimer Ellis, the “Ardent Bigamist of “The Round Dozen”) instead of using his usual practice of elaboration, invention and imagination applied to one or several living models. Also, this is the earliest appearance in print, only one year after Cakes and Ale, significantly, of his famous dictum that “we know our friends by their defects and not by their merits”:]

·     [“...I have at one time or another been charged with portraying certain persons so exactly that it was impossible not to know them. I have been accused of bad taste. This has disturbed me, not so much for my own sake (since I am used to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune) as for the sake of criticism in general. We authors of course try to be gentlemen, but we often fail and we must console ourselves by reflecting that few writers of any consequence have been devoid of certain streak of vulgarity.”]


·     [“The complete character, the result of elaboration rather than of invention, is art, and life in the raw, as we know, is only its material. It is unjust then for the critics to blame an author because he draws a character in whom they detect a likeness to someone they know and wholly unreasonable of them to expect him never to take one trait or another from living creatures. The odd thing is that when, these charges are made, emphasis is laid only on the less laudable characteristics of the individual. If you say of a character in a book that he is kind to his mother, but beats his wife, everybody will cry: Ah, that's Brown, how beastly to say he beats his wife; and no one thinks for a moment of Jones and Robinson who are notoriously kind to their mothers. I draw from this the somewhat surprising conclusion that we know our friends by their defects and not by their merits.”]

      A43.   The Book Bag (1932) [short story]

                      A43a.    First edition, Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, Inc., April 1932. “20 Best Short Stories in Ray Long’s 20 Years as an Editor”. Introduction by Ray Long.

·     From Ray Long’s preface it is clear that Maugham submitted The Book Bag to Cosmopolitan when most of his stories were being serialised in this magazine, but it had been rejected because Ray Long feared the subject of the story might offend many of its readers. Then, when later on he was turning over in his mind which of the stories he had published in Cosmopolitan were the best 20, he recalled that two of them which he ranked very high, he had rejected, and one of these was The Book Bag. So he wrote to Maugham and asked his permission to include it in the anthology. Presumably, because Ray Long had been very generous to him over the years, Maugham agreed, no doubt persuaded that it would hardly affect the publication of the story by Orioli in Florence in a limited edition. So the story appeared in Ray Long’s anthology approximately three months before its publication in a separate edition.

·     Oddly enough, Ray Long lost his life because of his association with Maugham. He was sent the typescript of The Moon and Sixpence and after reading it decided he, too, wanted to paint. He was over 50 but he threw up his job and went to live in one of the islands in the Pacific. He painted for a number of years, then decided he had no aptitude for it, and killed himself.[8]

·     [Mr Stott’s reasons to include this book here remain obscure. The entry evidently belongs to Section C. See also C35a.]

                      A43b.    First Separate edition, G. Orioli, Florence, July 1932. “This Edition is printed on hand-made paper, and limited to 725 copies, signed by the Author; 700 are for sale. This is number…” Front. port. inserted (a photograph by Killar of the Jo Davidson bust of Mr. Maugham).

·     Mr. Maugham had the front. portraits forwarded to him, across which he signed his name. In a letter (in the Grenville Cook collection) written from Ormond House, St James to Orioli, 11 May [1932], Mr. Maugham writes: ‘I shall be here till May 28 and can sign the portraits if you send them.’

·     [“The Book Bag” does not seem to have been published in magazine form, a rare case among Maugham’s short stories indeed. Its next appearance in book from was in A46.]

      A44.   The Narrow Corner (1932) [13th novel]

                      A44a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., 7 November 1932. [See D97.]

·     [Epigraph:

Short, therefore, is man’s life,

and narrow is the corner of the earth wherein he dwells.

Marcus Aurelius (120–181),

Meditations, iii, 10, unknown translation.]

                      A44b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 9 November 1932.

                      A44c.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1935. New Preface: B2.]

                      A44d.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 2 (B21). Preface largely rehashed from A44c, but it does contain one or two original touches. The most important of them is about the real-life foundations of Dr Saunders:]

·     [“Some critics who have been sufficiently interested in me to write about my books have stated that in Dr. Saunders I drew a portrait of myself. I don’t know how they got such a queer idea in their heads. It is true that I lent him one or two of my own experiences. But that is quite another matter. When a novelist has had an experience that will fit in with the characteristics of a creature of his invention he looks upon it a as bit of luck and makes haste to use it. I founded Dr. Saunders on a medical student I had known when I was myself one and whom I continued to know till he died forty years later. He was never a good doctor, but he had gaiety, a great sense of humour, a pleasant cynicism and not a little unscrupulousness. He was a most pleasant companion.”[9]]

      A45.   For Services Rendered (1932) [23rd play]

                      A45a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., 14 December 1932. “A Play in Three Acts.”

                      A45b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., April 1933.

·     For Services Rendered was written in 1932. It was produced at the Globe Theatre on November 1, 1932, with Ralph Richardson [Collie Stratton], Flora Robson [Evie] and Cedric Hardwicke [Sydney] in the cast. See D97a.

·     [The play was transferred to the Queen’s Theatre on 2 January 1933, but it wasn’t received well (78 performances). A 1946 revival by Peter Cotes was not a success, either (40).]

      A46.   Ah King (1933) [6th short story collection]

                      A46a.    First and Trade edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 19 September 1933. [Original preface titled “Ah King”.]

                      A46b.    Limited Issue, on Large Paper (separate impression from the same formes), William Heinemann Ltd., September 1933 (after the trade edition).

                      A46c.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 9 November 1933.

                      A46d.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1934. New Preface: B2; expanded from the original.]

                      A46e.    [Avon Modern Short Story Monthly #18: Romance Stories from the Tropics, Avon, 1944. Reprints all stories from A46a without “Neil MacAdam”.]

·     Contents: [Ah King] – Footprints in the Jungle – The Door of Opportunity – The Vessel of Wrath – The Book Bag – The Back of Beyond – Neil MacAdam.

·     [All stories except “The Book Bag” (A43) were published in magazines between March 1927 and April 1932. See D67, D90, D93, D95 and D96. Two of the stories, “Footprints in the Jungle” (C6b) and “The Back of Beyond” (C14), had already appeared in book form.]

·     [These two prefaces present an interesting example of Maugham’s adroitness and creativity when he reworked old stuff. The original piece from 1930 concludes thus: “To the best of my belief the characters that play their parts in [these stories] are creatures of my own fancy.” The 1934 Preface reprints the original piece complete, except for the last sentence which becomes “To the best of my belief they are the last stories technically, though I think not quite accurately, called exotic that I shall write”. This launches a fascinating discussion of the so-called “exotic stories”:]

·     [“It is indefensible to place a story in a foreign setting merely because it is picturesque. If the incidents you relate might as well have happened in England it is an affectation, if you are an English writer, to put them elsewhere. If you go outside your own country it must be because your story depends on the alien scene. Of course I do not claim that the stories in this book could only have taken place in the part of the world I have described. I think they could have taken place in India or in other colonies of the British Empire; they certainly could not have taken place in England, for they depend on the environment in which the characters chosen find themselves and on the effect upon them of a manner of life which is not quite natural to them.”]

·     [“I have confined myself to describing the effect on a number of white people of the manner of their lives in certain remote places. But the subject is limited. Life in these places is curious, but it is simple. It is a picture painted with a restricted palette. The writer who treats of subjects that demand the exotic setting finds eventually that he has arrived at the end of them. The characters he has to deal with are often peculiar, for people under these conditions often have the opportunity to develop their idiosyncrasies to a degree that in another situation would be impossible, but they somewhat lack variety. They tend to fall in recognisable types. Even when they are eccentric they are eccentric according to a pattern. The fact is of course that they are ordinary people on whom the same causes have the same effects. You don’t often find in them the complexity that makes those who dwell amid the sophisticated circumstances of cultured life an inexhaustible subject of study.”]

      A47.   Sheppey (1933) [24th play]

                      A47a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd., 13 November 1933. “A Play in Three Acts”. “To John Gielgud”.

·     First American edition, W. H. Barker, Boston, 1949.

·     Sheppey was written in 1932. It was produced at the Wyndham’s Theatre on 14 September, 1933, with Ralph Richardson [Sheppey] and Laura Cowie [Bessie] in the cast. After this production, Mr. Maugham announced that he would write no more plays.

·     [Not the best way to end one’s career as a dramatist, Sheppey puzzled critics and public alike, closing after 83 performances. Maugham announced his retirement from the stage and never returned to play writing. As he wonderfully put it The Summing Up (chap. XLI): “I sighed for the liberty of fiction, and I thought with pleasure of the lonely reader who was willing to listen to all I had to say and with whom I could effect an intimacy that I could never hope for in the garish publicity of the theatre.”]

      A48.   The Judgment Seat (1934) [short story]

                      A48a.    First edition, The Centaur Press, December 1934. With a frontispiece portrait of Maugham [by whom?]. Limited to 150 copies signed by Author and Artist.

·     [This story never appeared in a magazine. It was collected in A50.]

      A49.   Don Fernando (1935) [1st non-fiction]

                      A49a.    First and Trade edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 17 June 1935. Subtitled “or Variations on Some Spanish Themes”.

                      A49b.    Limited Issue, on Large Paper (separate impression from the same formes), William Heinemann Ltd., May 1935 (after the trade edition). [Here Mr Stott says the Trade edition was first published in “May 1935”?] Limited to 175 copies for sale in Great Britain and Ireland, numbered and signed by the Author.

                      A49c.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 19 July 1935.

                      A49d.    New and Revised edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 1950.

·     New and completely revised edition (in the Collected Edition). The author has omitted certain details concerning ideas which he says he expressed better after further reflection, in The Summing Up. Chapter VII has also been omitted and Chapter IX (which becomes Chapter XIII in the revised edition) has been entirely re-written and considerably augmented. There is also an Author’s Note (3 pp.) on the changes.

                      A49e.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1937. New Preface: B2. Similar/identical to the part of the preface in A49f?]

                        A49f.    [The Travel Books, Heinemann, 1955. New Preface. See B25.]

                      A49g.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the preface and the revisions from A49d.]

      A50.   Cosmopolitans: Very Short Stories (1936) [7th short story collection]

                      A50a.    First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 21 February 1936. Preface, pp. v-x. Subtitled “Very Short Stories”.

                      A50b.    First English and Trade edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 30 March 1936. Preface, pp. vii-xiii.

                      A50c.    Limited Issue, on Large Paper (separate impression from the same formes), William Heinemann Ltd., March 1936 (after the trade edition). [Apparently this edition appeared on 31st March.]

                      A50d.    [Avon Modern Short Story Monthly #1, Avon, 1943. Identical stories, no preface.]

·     Contents: [Preface] – Raw Material [D38] – Mayhew [D39] – German Harry [D40] – The Happy Man [D49] – The Dream [D47] – In a Strange Land [D42] – The Luncheon [D43] – Salvatore [D50] – Home [D51] – Mr. Know-All [D53] – The Escape [D55] – A Friend in Need [D56] – Portrait of a Gentleman [D57] – The End of the Flight [D62a] – The Judgement Seat [A48] – The Ant and the Grasshopper [D52] – French Joe [D63] – The Man with the Scar [D60] – The Poet [D61] – Louise [D59] – The Closed Shop [D66] – The Promise [D62] – A String of Beads [D68] – The Bum [D78] – Straight Flush [D80] – The Verger [D81] – The Wash Tub [D77] – The Social Sense [D79] – The Four Dutchmen [D76].

·     [All stories except “The Judgement Seat” (A48) were published in magazines between November 1923 and August 1929. Three of them, “In a Strange Land” (C2), “The Promise” (C6) and “The End of the Flight” (C8), had previously appeared in book form as well. The original Preface is a gem worth quoting at length, almost complete in fact:]

·     [“The little stories in this volume were written on commission. The first was written in 1924 [sic: 1923]; the last, I think, in 1929. When I was in China I took notes of whatever I saw that excited my interest; but when I came home and read them it seemed to me that they had a vividness that I might easily lose if I tried to elaborate them into a connected narrative. So I changed my mind and decided to publish them as they stood under the title: On a Chinese Screen. Ray Long, who was then editor of the Cosmopolitan Magazine chanced to read this and it occurred to him that some of my notes might very well be taken for short stories. If you are a story-teller any curious person you meet has a way of suggesting a story, and incidents that to others will seem quite haphazard have a way of presenting themselves to you with the pattern your natural instinct has imposed on them.”]

·     [“Magazine readers do not like starting a story and, after reading for a while, being told to turn to page a hundred and something. Writers do not like it either, for they think the interruption disturbs the reader and they have an uneasy fear that sometimes he will not take the trouble and so leaves their story unfinished. There is no help for it. Everyone should know that a magazine costs more to produce than it is sold for, and it could not exist but for the advertisements. The advertisers think that their announcements are more likely to be read if they are on the same page as matter which they modestly, but often mistakenly, think of greater interest. So in the illustrated periodicals it has been found advisable to put the beginning of a story or an article, with the picture that purports to illustrate it, at the beginning and the continuation with the advertisements later on.”]

·     [“Neither readers nor writers should complain. Readers get something for far less than cost price and writers are paid sums for their productions which only the advertisements render possible. They should remember that they are there only as baits. Their office is to fill blank spaces and indirectly induce their readers to buy motor accessories, bust bodices and join correspondence courses. Fortunately this need not affect them. The best story from the advertisers' standpoint (and they make their views felt on this question) is the story that gives readers most delight. Ray Long conceived the notion that the readers of Cosmopolitan would like it if they were given at least one story that they could read without having to hunt for the continuation among the advertisements, and he commissioned me to write half a dozen sketches of the same sort as those in On a Chinese Screen. They were to be short enough to print on opposite pages of the magazine and leave plenty of room for the illustration.”]

·     [“The sketches I wrote pleased and the commission was renewed. I went on writing them till my natural verbosity got the better of me and I found myself no longer able to keep my stories within the limits imposed upon me. Then I had to stop.”]

·     [“But I think I learned a good deal from the writing of them and I am glad I wrote them. My difficulty was to compress what I had to tell into a number of words which must not be exceeded and yet leave the reader with the impression that I had told all there was to tell. It was this that made the enterprise amusing. It was also salutary. I could not afford to waste a word. I had to be succinct. I was surprised to find how many adverbs and adjectives I could leave out without any harm to the matter or the manner. One often writes needless words because they give the phrase a little ring. It was very good practice to try to get balance into a sentence without using a word that was not necessary to the sense.”]

·     [“The matter of course had to be chosen with discretion; it would have been futile to take a theme that demanded elaborate development; and I have a natural predilection for completeness, so that even in the little space at my disposal I wanted my story to have a beginning, a middle and an end. I do not for my own part much care for the shapeless story. To my mind it is not enough when the writer gives you the plain facts seen through his own eyes (which means of course that they are not plain facts, but facts distorted by his own idiosyncrasy); I think he should impose upon them a design. Naturally these stories are anecdotes. […] The anecdote is the basis of fiction. The restlessness of writers forces upon fiction from time to time forms that are foreign to it, but when it has been oppressed for a period by obscurity, propaganda or affectation, it reverts and returns inevitably to the anecdote.”]

·     [“The University of Columbia a little while ago very kindly sent me a little book entitled Modern Fiction[10] [F27] written by two of its professors. I read it with interest and edification. It offers the best guide I have ever met across the fog-bound swamps, shining mountains, pleasant oases and dreary deserts of Mr. Joyce’s Ulysses. It treats of no book that it does not make one wish to read again. It is tolerant, perspicacious and stimulating. But there is one thing about it that very much surprised me. The books of which it treats are discussed in the most improving way. Their technique is acutely analysed. Their value as psychological, sociological or ethical documents is estimated. But I can find nowhere a reference to their entertainment. So far as I can make out these two professors in all the years during which they have thought the ardent young who have attended their lectures never even hinted to them that a novel should be read for fun. The novel may stimulate you to think. It may satisfy your aesthetic sense. It may arouse your moral emotions. But if it does not entertain you it is a bad novel. It is merely laziness that induces people to go to novels for instruction on subjects that are the province of experts. There is no short road to knowledge and you will only waste your time if you seek it in a work of fiction.”]


·     [“The novelist deals with individual cases which he has chosen to suit his own purpose. They may exemplify a rule; they cannot serve to formulate one. The novelist gives you his private view of the universe. He offers you intelligent entertainment; and the first thing you should ask of an entertainment is that it should entertain.”]

·     [“I hope the reader will not think it presumptuous on my part to have touched on these matters of theory in a preface written to introduce a little collection of very short stories. I wish merely to warn him that I ask nothing from him but that he should find amusing. I think it would be very tiresome to read them at a sitting, but I have a hope that if he reads one or two now and then when he has nothing better to do he will take the same pleasure in them that was taken by the readers of the Cosmopolitan Magazine when they appeared once every month or so in its pages.”]

      A51.   My South Sea Island (1936) [pamphlet]

                      A51a.    First edition, Chicago, 1936. “Printed by order of Ben Abramson without the author’s permission, but with firm held hope that being done, it will not be spurned nor the act censured”.

·     This insignificant article about a few days spent on an island in the South Seas appeared in the Daily Mail, London, 31 January, 1922 [D27]. According to Ben Abramson, there was a misprint in the spelling of ‘Somerset’ on the title page of the first printing, and all but two copies were destroyed. The pamphlet was then reprinted. My South Sea Island has every mark of the bibliographical fraud without finally being altogether one. If it had been an article found in manuscript among the author’s papers, then there might have been some real interest in publishing it, but to pay £200 (as has been done twice recently in a London auction room) for a reprinted newspaper article seems to be bibliomania carried to extremes. For such a sum a collector could acquire a first edition of A Man of Honour or a first issue of The Painted Veil – genuine rarities which would greatly add to the value of one’s collection.

·     The germ for My South Sea Island is to be found in A Writer’s Notebook (A70) from which the author undoubtedly wrote up his article. [Reprinted in B43.]

                      A51b.    First Miniature edition, Black Cat Press, Chicago, February 1965. Foreword (by Norman F. Forgue). “This first printing in book is limited to 199 copies.”

      A52.   Theatre (1937) [14th novel]

                      A52a.    First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 3 March 1937. An “author’s note”, p. v [reprinted in A52b, p. vii].[11]

                      A52b.    First English edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 22 March 1937.

                      A52c.    [The Collected Edition, Heinemann, 1939. New Preface: B2.]

·     [This was the last preface Maugham wrote for this prestigious edition. Since later volumes were included in it relatively shortly after their first publication, he considered it unnecessary to repeat in prefaces what he had just said better in the works themselves. As he explains charmingly in the opening paragraph:]

·     [“It is not very difficult to write a preface to a book that you wrote a long time ago, for the hurrying years have made a different man of you and you can look upon it with a stranger’s eyes. You see its faults, and for the reader’s delectation you can recall, according to your temperament with toleration or with dismay, the defects in your character as it was then which account for the defects of your book; or you can look back, maybe with the pleasure that distance lends to the past, upon the conditions under which you wrote; you can draw a pretty picture of your garret or dwell with modest complacency on the stiff upper lip with which you faced neglect. But when, in order to tempt a reader to buy a book that has no longer the merit of novelty, you set about writing a preface to a work of fiction that you composed no more than two or three years back, it is none too easy to find anything that you want to say, for you have said in your book all you have to say upon the theme with which it deals and having done so have never given it another thought. As nothing is more dead that a love that has burnt itself out, so no subject is less interesting to an author than one upon which he has said his say. Of course you can quarrel with your reviewers, but there is little point in that; what such and such a critic thought of a novel that he read the year before last can only matter to an author if his susceptibility is really too tender for the rough and tumble of this queer world; the critic has long forgotten both the book and his criticism, and the generality of readers never trouble their heads with criticism anyhow.”]

                      A52d.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 1. Preface rehashed from A52c.]

                      A52e.    [Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1939 Preface (A52c).]

      A53.   The Summing Up (1938) [2nd non-fiction]

                      A53a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 6 January 1938.

                      A53b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 25 March 1938.

                      A53c.    Eightieth Birthday edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., May 1954.

·     “This edition is limited to / three hundred and ninety-one / numbered and signed copies / printed from the type which has been destroyed. / Three hundred and seventy-five copies are for sale / of which this is number…” “Copyright, 1938, 1954, by W. Somerset Maugham”. Price: $15.

·     This limited edition was published in May 1954 to celebrate the author’s 80th birthday. The partners in the firm of A. P. Watt, his literary agents, presented him with some brandy ‘a little younger than yourself’.

·     [I surmise the copyright page refers, not to some revisions in the text, but to the addition of a postscript from the preface to The Partial View (B22). This is how the book is reprinted in Mr. Maugham Himself (B23), again in 1954.]

      A54.   Christmas Holiday (1939) [15th novel]

                      A54a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 6 February 1939.

                      A54b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 20 October 1939.

·     Christmas Holiday was serialised in Redbook Magazine commencing August 1939, concluding November 1939.

                      A54c.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 3. New Preface: B21.]

·     [This preface is the only place where Maugham mentions something about the origins of this novel. It was apparently inspired by a murder trial in Paris which the author attended:]

·     [“I found the experience, so new to me, immensely thrilling. There was no doubt about the prisoner’s guilt. The evidence was damning. The only question was whether he would be sentenced to death, or whether the jury would admit extenuating circumstances, in which case by law the judges could only sentence him to a term of penal servitude. There was a long string of witnesses and they were allowed to deliver themselves at length. The prisoner, little more than a boy, was well-dressed and nice-looking, dapper and vain. Before the judges entered on the first morning of the trial the photographers had asked him to stand up so that they could take better pictures of him and he had preened himself before them with insolent satisfaction. He came of good bourgeois stock. His father, who was dead, had been a general in the Army, and his mother, a typical French woman of her class, was obviously of the utmost respectability. Even before she took her place on the witness stand you had only to look at her to know what her life had been. She had passed the greater part of it in one garrison town after another, and as her husband rose in rank she took the deference the wives of her husband’s subordinates showed her as her due. She ran her successive establishments with competence and strict economy. She performed her religious duties punctiliously. On stated occasions she paid and received the visits which her position required of her. She knew her son was guilty and at best would be parted from her for many years, but she delivered her testimony with precision. Her dignity impressed the court. One wondered whether she had ever asked herself why God had given her, who had always done her duty, a son who had brought upon her ageing head such a terrible disgrace. People are very strange and have fantastic notions. One wondered whether she thought bitterly that after this the widows of her husband’s brother officers would no longer pay their visits of ceremony and that, and if she ventured to call on them, their doors would be closed to her.”]

·     [“From her testimony and from that of others it became evident that the prisoner had from an early age been a scamp. He was dissolute, extravagant and dishonest. For one of his escapades he had been sentenced to a short term of imprisonment. The prisoner’s wife took the stand. She was a pretty little thing, very plainly dressed, a Russian, and she spoke French with a slight accent. She was very nervous and spoke in so low a tone that it was hard to hear what she said. Now and then her voice was choked with sobs and once she broke down altogether. One got the impression that she loved her husband, but had found life with the worthless creature she had married and his prim, conventional mother, for the three of them lived together, far from easy. She was a deeply pathetic figure. The prisoner was found guilty, but, for what reason I do not know, extenuating circumstances were allowed, perhaps because the bookmaker he had murdered for a few thousand francs was a disreputable character, perhaps because of his father’s distinguished war record, and he was given a life sentence.”]

      A55.   Princes September and the Nightingale (1939) [short story]

                      A55a.    First edition, Oxford University Press, 1939. Illustrated by Richard C. Jones. “Princess September and the Nightingale” is reprinted from The Gentleman in the Parlour by W. Somerset Maugham, copyright, 1930, by Doubleday Doran & Company, Inc., by special permission of the author and publisher”. Copyright copy deposited Library of Congress 14 October 1939.

·     A reprint in juvenile form of the fairy story which first appeared in Pearson’s Magazine [D34] and was later embodied in The Gentleman in the Parlour [A39]. Not published in England. See also C6 [sic: C3].

·     [This illustrated version was reprinted in 1998, with an Introduction by Jan Morris and an Afterword by Samuel J. Rogal.]

                      A55b.    First edition under the title Princess September, Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1969. Illustrated with coloured drawings by Jacqueline Ayer.

                      A55c.    First English edition under the title Princess September, William Collins, Sons & Co. Ltd., 16 March 1970. The English edition was bound from American sheets.

                      A55d.    [Orchid Press, Thailand, 2003. Under the title A Siamese Fairy Tale. Illustrated by Fleur Brofos Asmussen.]

      A56.   France at War (1940) [3rd non-fiction]

                      A56a.    First edition, William Heinemann, 18 March 1940.

                      A56b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., April 1940.

·     This was a survey of French affairs early in the war, commissioned by what later became The Ministry of Information. It gave what proved to be an inaccurate picture of French morale at that time, which is surprising considering Maugham’s knowledge of France and her people, but the fault was not altogether his and he sets out elsewhere the facts and obstacles he met with during its composition. Publication was discontinued on the fall of France.

·     [Mr Stott remains silent where this “elsewhere” might be, but I guess he means A60. If France at War was a little propaganda book, and it certainly was, it stands to reason that Strictly Personal was written as a response to it.]

      A57.   Books and You (1940) [4th non-fiction]

                      A57a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 18 March 1940. Preface, v-xx. “To Barbara Rothschild”.

                      A57b.    American First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 22 March 1940.

·     This book was serialised in The Saturday Evening Post.

·     [Sometimes Mr Stott’s carelessness is truly exasperating! This book was not serialised at all. It simply consisted of three essays (D112, D114, D118) that first appeared in the Sat. Eve. Post and, being enthusiastically received by the public, were later collected in more permanent form on this account. Mr Stott also neglects to mention in his Collation section that the American edition also contains the original Preface on pp. 5-22. This is an unforgivable omission.]

·     [The Preface is an essential part of the book. For one thing, it contains absorbing discussions on three novels – Trollope’s The Eustace Diamonds, Meredith’s The Egoist and Eliot’s Middlemarch – for which Maugham had not space in his original article on English literature (which, like the other two on European and American books, was limited to 4000 words). For another thing, it contains one of the most concise expositions of Maugham’s credo as a reader:]

·     [“I repeat here what you will find in my first chapter, that the only thing that signifies to you in a book is what it means to you, and if your opinion is at variance with that of everyone else in the world it is of no consequence. Your opinion is valid for you. In matters of art people, especially, I think, in America, are apt to accept willingly from professors and critics a tyranny which in matters of government they would rebel against. But in these questions there is no right and wrong. The relation between the reader and his book is as free and intimate as that between the mystic and his God. Of all forms of snobbishness the literary is perhaps the most detestable, and there is no excuse for the fool who despises his fellow-man because he does not share his opinion of the value of a certain book. Pretences in literary appreciation are odious, and no one should be ashamed if a book that the best critics think highly of means nothing to him. On the other hand it is better not to speak ill of such books if you have not read them.”]

·     [“The first thing I have asked of a book before I put it on my list was that it should be readable; for I want you to read these books, and readability is something I have a notion the professors of literature and the critics whom they have trained take for granted. But it is not a thing to be taken for granted at all. There are many books important in the history of literature which it is now unnecessary for anybody but the student to read. Few people have the time today to read anything but what immediately concerns them. My claim is that the books I have mentioned in the following pages concern everybody. By readability I do not mean that it should be possible to read the book without attention. The reader must bring something of his own; he must have at least the capacity of interesting himself in human affairs and he must have at least some imagination. I know a number of people who say they cannot read novels, and I have noticed they are apt to suppose that it is because, their minds being busy with important matters, they cannot trouble to occupy themselves with imaginary events; but I think they are deceived; it is either because they are so absorbed in themselves that they cannot take an interest in what happen to others, or because they are so devoid of imagination that they have not the power to enter into the ideas and sympathize with the joys and sorrows of the characters of fiction.”]

      A58.   The Mixture as Before (1940) [8th short story collection]

                      A58a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 6 June 1940. Foreword, pp. vii-ix.

                      A58b.    First American edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 12 July 1940. Foreword, pp. v-vii. Copyright copy deposited Library of Congress, 18 July 1940.

·     In the foreword to The Mixture as Before Mr. Maugham wrote: ‘I have now written between eighty and ninety stories, I shall not write any more’. When a further volume – Creatures of Circumstance – appeared some seven years later he wrote another foreword in which he explained that the typist or typesetter had left out an m and that the line should have read ‘I shall not write many more stories’. In view of this disclaimer, it is interesting to know that it was not the first time Mr. Maugham had threatened to retire from the short story market. In a letter to Pinker in November 1907, he wrote: ‘I do not propose to write any more short stories. I have so many commissions for plays that I should not have the time even if I had the inclination.’ Luckily for English literature he did not adhere to this resolution.

·     Mr. Maugham, somewhat ironically, took the title of this book from a review in The Times of his last volume of short stories was headed The Mixture as Before.

·     [The review was in fact titled “Mr. Maugham’s Mixture as Before” (G37b) and it easily ranks as one of the most inane pieces of criticism on his work ever to have appeared in print. No wonder it was anonymous. For the “mixture as before” was Cosmopolitans (A50), the one and only short story collection in Maugham’s bibliography that has nothing to do with the others, especially the earlier ones. It contains 29 “very short stories”: his previous five collections contained six stories each, any of them very much longer than the longest of the “cosmopolitans”. More importantly, the “mixture as before” were written on magazine commission. Maugham’s earlier stories were not; they duly appeared in periodicals, often on both sides of the Pond due to his great popularity, but they were not written for that purpose. This is a difference of signal importance. The review, in short, proudly joins the ranks of Edmund Wilson, D. H. Lawrence, Katherine Mansfield, Rebecca West, Malcolm Cowley, Morton Zabel, Theodore Spencer, Woodburn O. Ross and many other exalted personalities who have become symbols of critical imbecility as far as Somerset Maugham is concerned.]

·     [In his Foreword, Maugham made the same mistake about the title as Mr Stott. But then he transformed the phrase, much as he did real events and people in his fiction, into something entirely his own and of much greater import:]

·     [“When my last volume of short stories was published The Times headed their review of it with the title The Mixture as Before. This of course was meant in a depreciatory sense, but I did not take it as such and so I have made so bold as to use it for the collection which I am now inviting the public to read. After pursuing the art of fiction for over forty years I have a notion that I know a good deal more about it than most people. In that long period I have seen a number of bright stars creep shyly over the horizon, travel across the sky to burn for a while in mid heaven with dazzling effulgence, and then dwindle into an obscurity from which there is little likelihood that they will ever again emerge. The writer has his special communication to make, which when you come to analyse it is the personality with which he is endowed by nature, and during the early years of his activity he is groping in the dark to express it; then, if he is fortunate, he succeeds in doing this and if there is in his personality a certain abundance he may continue for a long time to produce work which is varied and characteristic; but the time comes at last (if he is so imprudent as to live to a ripe age) when, having given what he has to give, his powers seem to fail. He has fashioned all the stories he himself is capable of digging out of the inexhaustible mine which is human nature and he has created all the characters which can possibly be constituted out of the various sides of his own personality. (For no one I believe can create a character from pure observation; if it is to have life it must be at least to some degree a representation of himself: I do not believe Shakespeare could have begotten Hamlet, Brutus and Iago if he had not been himself Iago, Brutus and Hamlet.) A generation has arisen which is strange to him and it is only by an effort of will that he can understands the interests of a world of which he can now be only an observer. But to understand is not enough; the novelist must feel, and he must not only feel with, he must feel in. It is when he has reached this stage that he finds his readers turning from him in weariness. It is well then if he can bring himself to cease writing books which might just as well have remained unwritten. He is wise to watch warily for the signs which will indicate to him that, having said his say, it behoves him to resign himself to silence. He must be content, he must rejoice even, if a new work which he tenders to the approbation of the public shows no falling off; if, in fact, it can truthfully be called The Mixture as Before.”]

·     Contents: The Three Fat Women of Antibes [D98] – A Man with a Conscience [D116] – The Treasure [D100] – The Lotus Eater [D107] – The Lion’s Skin [D110] – Lord Mountdrago [D113] – Gigolo and Gigolette [D106] – The Voice of the Turtle [D105] – An Official Position [D108] – The Facts of Life [D115].

·     [All stories published in magazines between October 1933 and June 1939.]

      A59.   Up at the Villa (1941) [16th novel]

                      A59a.    First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 5 April 1941.

·     Warner Bros. paid Somerset Maugham $30 000 for the movie rights of Up at the Villa, but although a number of experienced script writers including Christopher Isherwood were employed on it they were never able to produce a script that has satisfied the censor.

·     [Nearly 60 years later, in 2000, a movie version finally appeared. It’s been forgotten since. The script, by one Belinda Haas, is a fine elaboration on Maugham’s bare skeleton of a plot, and it makes the whole story more coherent and probable. But the characters have lost all their charm, vividness and complexity. The soporific acting of Kristin Scott Thomas (Mary), Sean Penn (Rowley) and James Fox (Edgar) doesn’t help the matter. Even the cinematography, the one thing you would expect to be stunning, is drab, monotonous and unimaginative.]

·     In the files of the American Play Company now preserved in The New York Public Library (Berg Collection) is the typescript (carbon) of a short story (29 pp.) unsigned and undated entitled A Night in June. Presumably it went the round of the Editors but never found a publisher and many years later Maugham re-wrote it as a novel Up at the Villa with the same characters and the names unchanged.

·     [In the process of re-writing, Maugham improved the piece a great deal. It was serialised in Redbook between February and April 1940. See D119.]  

                      A59b.    First English edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 12 May 1941.

                      A59c.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 3. New Preface: B21]

·     [This preface is the only place where Maugham shares some details about the origins of Up at the Villa. He mentions nothing about “A Night in June”, but tells an amusing story how the piece was commissioned and then rejected by “the editor of a woman’s magazine” and finishes by modestly asking “no more of the reader than that he should find in [Up at the Villa] an hour’s diversion”:]

·     [“Up at the Villa is a novelette. I had long had in mind its central episode, that in which a woman of uncommon beauty gives herself to a man she hardly knows, not out of love or lust, but out of pity. But it was just one out of perhaps a dozen ideas that now and then suggested themselves to me, that I thought about from time to time, but which for one reason or another I never used. One day when I was in New York the editor of a woman’s magazine asked me to lunch and told me that she would very much like me to write a short novel for her that could serialised in three or four numbers. I was in a good mood that day and, improvising as I went along, I proceeded to tell her in some detail a story centring on that particular episode. It pleased her and she commissioned me to write it. But when I had finished it and she read it, she was shocked. She said it wasn’t at all the sort of thing to suit her readers. I have never wanted to hold any editor to a contract when he was not satisfied with a piece of work I had presented to him, so I cheerfully begged the charming but naïve lady (I am putty in the hands of a woman in distress) not to give the matter another thought and withdrew the manuscript.”]

·     [“The story was Up at the Villa. It was easy and amusing to write. I never attached any great importance to it and it has surprised me to learn that in the Latin countries and in the Near East it has been one of the most popular of my books. I ask no more of the reader than that he should find in it an hour’s diversion.”]

·     [Even confirmed Maugham admirers have found it difficult to appreciate Up at the Villa. On its first publication the critics lambasted it like no other of Maugham’s works before (see G53). Personally, I find it a superb piece of entertainment, far deeper than its hundred pages may suggest.]

      A60.   Strictly Personal (1941) [5th non-fiction]

                      A60a.    First and Limited edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 3 September 1941. “This edition / is limited to five hundred and fifteen copies / numbered and signed by the author / of which this is / No…”. Photogravure front. port.

                      A60b.    First Trade edition (separate impression from the same formes), Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 5 September 1941. Front. port., inserted.

                      A60c.    First edition under the title The Inside Story of the French Collapse. “Reprinted from Redbook October 1940 issue.” Cover captioned: “France fell… on June 17. Now, just a few weeks later, W. Somerset Maugham… previously reported dead or captured – returns to London to give his masterful, eye-witness story of the Collapse of France…”

·     The greater part of this pamphlet was incorporated in Strictly Personal, but in the latter the author watered down his earlier impressions and was less inclined to blame himself for his lack of perspicacity in summing up the situation. See D121, D122 and D123.

                      A60d.    First English edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 2nd March 1942. Front. port., inserted. A Letter to Sir Edward Marsh, pp. v-vi. [Chapter 15 omitted.]

·     The English edition contains a two-page letter addressed to Sir Edward Marsh, K.C.V.O., which is not in the American edition. Strictly Personal, which covers the author’s experiences during the first fifteen months of the war, was serialised in The Saturday Evening Post on March 22, 29, April 5, 12, 1941, under the title Novelist’s Flight from France. [See D128–D131.]

·     [It has been suggested (G203) that it was Godfrey Winn whom Maugham described mercilessly in Chapter 15 as a slick-and-slack journalist; so mercilessly, indeed, that Heinemann feared a libel action and the chapter was dropped from the British edition. See F137 and G26. With his typically casual attitude to the contents of Maugham’s books, as opposed to his scrupulous scholarship about their bindings, collations, states, issues and the like, Mr Stott mentions nothing at all about this important difference between the First American and English editions.]

·     [A little anti-propaganda book written to set the record straight after the embarrassing fall of France shortly after Maugham praised the French morale and courage in France at War (A56).]

      A61.   The Hour Before the Dawn (1942) [17th novel]

                      A61a.    First edition, Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 19 June 1942.

·     This novel was written at the request of the Ministry of Information and was intended to show the effect of the war on a typically British family. It was written originally in the form of a documentary and serialised in Redbook in January, February, March, and April 1942 issues [sic: D137]; then expanded into a novel. It is of all Maugham’s books the one he was most dissatisfied with, probably because it was written to order and was propaganda, instead of developing in his mind over a number of years as did all his other novels. In a letter to Eddie Marsh in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library, he writes: “No, I am not going to send you my novel to correct because I have decided not to publish it in England. It was written as propaganda, first as a picture, then as a short serial and finally as a full-length novel. How could anyone be expected to run out a decent piece of work in that way? I knew very well it was poor and I was miserable about it. I tried to console myself by looking upon it as my contribution to the war effort, but that did not help much and I prefer to think now that it will be unread in England and forgotten in America.”[12]

·     That he had at one time, however, contemplated publishing it here is apparent from the publisher’s records which show that although the type was set up and the book actually proofed at the Windmill Press, it was never produced in book form. See A61c.

·     [Epigraph:

In every work regard the writer’s end,

Since none can compass more than they intend.


                      A61b.    First Australian edition, Angus and Robertson Ltd, 7 April 1945.

                      A61c.    English Advanced Proof state, William Heinemann Ltd, 1942.

·     This copy has part of pictures on the inside wrappers, suggesting that left over sheets were used for the binding, as it was not intended to complete more than a few copies for distribution. The only copy in proof form that has come to my notice is in the Leonard Meldman collection.

      A62.   The Unconquered (1943) [short story]

                      A62a.    First edition, House of Books, Ltd., New York, 1 December 1944. “This First edition is limited to / three hundred numbered copies / signed by the Author / this is No….”

·     This is the original text of the short story that had appeared previously in Collier’s Magazine [D143] in expurgated form. It was reprinted in Creatures of Circumstance [A66] in the original version. The certificate of limitation refers to 300 numbered copies, but there were actually 26 additional copies (lettered a–z), 12 of which were used for presentation to the author, 12 for review and presentation by the Publisher, and 2 for entry in the Library of Congress for copyright purposes.

      A63.   The Razor’s Edge (1944) [18th novel]

                      A63a.    First and Limited edition, Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., 18 April 1944. “This edition / is limited to seven hundred and fifty copies / numbered and signed by the author / of which this is No…”. “Copyright, 1943, 1944, by the McCall Company / Copyright 1944 by W. Somerset Maugham”. In slip case. Price: $6.

                      A63b.    First Trade edition (separate impression from the same forms), Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc., 20 April 1944. Price: $2,75.

·     [Epigraph:

The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over;

thus the wise say the path to salvation is hard.

Katha Upanishad]

·     The Razor’s Edge was serialised in Redbook in the December 1943, January, February, March, April and May 1944 issues. [See D148a.]

                      A63c.    First English edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 17 July 1944.

·     On the front of the American trade edition dust wrapper is printed an aphorism – The Story of a Man Who Found a Faith. It does not appear in the book nor anywhere at all in the English edition, and was probably written by Maugham himself.

·     The Theme of The Razor’s Edge came from an unproduced and unpublished play of Maugham’s called The Road Uphill.

·     [See Mander and Mitchenson, F93, pp. 198-99, who apparently discovered “a script of a play […] called The Road Uphill” that had languished in oblivion for more than 30 years and was thought by Maugham to have been destroyed. They date the play to 1924 and suggest that it contains not only the germ of The Razor’s Edge, but also that of the short story “The Alien Corn” (D94).]

                      A63d.    [The Selected Novels, Heinemann, 1953, vol. 3. New Preface: B21]

·     [This is the only place where Maugham discloses something about the genesis of The Razor’s Edge. Characteristically, he says nothing about The Road Uphill but instead concentrates on deeper and more elusive matters:]

·     [“The Razor’s Edge on the other hand had been in my mind for many years. But in this case also the idea for it would perhaps never have come to me but for an accident. In the very early ‘twenties I happened to be in Chicago and one evening I met at dinner a young man whose name, if I ever knew, I have long forgotten, who somehow or other attracted my attention. He was fairly tall, slender, not particularly good-looking, but with a pleasant face. He had an ingenuous charm and engaging manners, but what chiefly struck me in him was his air of candour. There was something touching about it. I could not but think that he must have a singular sweetness of disposition. He was obviously a general favourite and I ascribed this, perhaps fancifully, to the goodness that he seemed to exhale as a rose its perfume. I have met plenty of young Americans with good manners, a frank expression and good-nature, and I don’t know why the recollection of this one should have lingered with me. I don’t suppose I exchanged a dozen sentences with him and I never saw him again. It was from what I saw of him and what I divined that in the course of years the character of Larry formed itself in my mind, and, as happens in such cases, incidents, fugitive notions, predicaments clustered round this wraith of my imagination to render him more real to me. From time to time something of a thread of narrative suggested itself to me. In 1936 I spent three or four months in India. I had read a good deal of Indian philosophy and had been peculiarly attracted to Hinduism. When I got to India and the Indians to whom I had letters of introduction found that I neither wanted to shoot a tiger, nor to sell anything, but was desirous to meet philosophers, writers and holy men, they were interested and did everything in the world to meet my wishes. I thus came to know persons who were entirely new to my experience and who by their lives and their conversation made a deep impression upon me. What I learnt then fitted in very well with the ideas for a novel that in the course of years I had been slowly evolving. A number of seemingly haphazard circumstances, a cluster of characters, half-forgotten experiences, reminiscences of my own past emerged from I hardly knew where to give shape, coherence and substance to the novel that by now absorbed my thoughts, and in 1942 I began to write it. That was exactly twenty years after I had had that fleeting encounter with the young man in Chicago who became my hero.”]

      A64.   Then and Now (1946) [19th novel]

                      A64a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 13 May 1946. Author’s Acknowledgments, p. v.

                      A64b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 23 May 1946. Author’s Note, p. v.

·     [These unexplained authorial contributions are probably the same as the short note on p. [v] in the Vintage Classics edition:]

·     [“No one could write a book of this kind out of his head, and I have taken what I wanted where I could find it. My chief source of information has naturally been the works of Machiavelli. I have found much that was to my purpose in Tommasini’s biography and something in Villari’s, and I have made some use of Woodward’s solid Cesare Borgia. I wish to acknowledge the great debt I owe to Count Carlo Beuf for his lively and accurate life of Caesar, for his kindness in lending me books which otherwise I should never have known about, and for his patience in answering the many questions I put to him.”]

      A65.   Of Human Bondage: With a Digression on the Art of Fiction (1946) [pamphlet]

                      A65a.    Limited edition, The Library of Congress, April 1946. “Designed and printed for / The Library of Congress at / the U.S. Government Print- / ing Office at Washington, in / an edition of 800 copies, 500 / of which have been signed by / Mr. Maugham. / April 1946.”

·     Mr. Frederick R. Goff, then Chief of the Rare Book Division, the Library of Congress, to whom I am indebted for this information, tells me that from his own personal recollection ‘the signed copies, representing the first state, were issued first. They were distributed to the audience who attended the presentation ceremony. Presumably at the time the remaining 300 copies were being prepared for binding, alterations took place which resulted in the colophon leaf being mounted on a stub. Subsequently the second edition in wrappers was issued to satisfy popular demand.’

                      A65b.    First and Trade edition (separate impression from the same formes), The Library of Congress, April 1946. [20] pp.; p. [3]: “This Address / was given by Mr. Maugham / in the Coolidge Auditorium, / The Library of Congress, on / the occasion of his presenting / the original manuscript of his / novel “Of Human Bondage” / to the Library”; p. [17]: “Designed and printed for / The Library of Congress at / the U.S. Government Print- / ing Office at Washington, in / an edition of 2,500 copies, of / which 1000 are for sale by / the Superintendent of Docu- / ments at 25 cents a copy. / April 1946 / Second printing”.

·     In this address, Maugham tells how the novel came to be written, and makes other observations of varying biographical interest. On the 11 October 1950, Mr. Maugham made a further presentation to the Library of the manuscript The Artistic Temperament of Stephen Carey, the first version of Of Human Bondage written shortly after he had received his degree in medicine. One of the stipulations of the gift is that it is never to be published.

      A66.   Creatures of Circumstance (1947) [9th short story collection]

                      A66a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 17 July 1947. “The Author Excuses Himself”, pp. 1-4.

·     Throughout his professional career, Mr. Maugham showed a great reluctance to waste material, and time and again he has resurrected stories written in his youth, and revised them for book form. The Mother, to which he originally gave the title La Cachirra, The Luncheon, originally published as Cousin Amy, and The Happy Couple, are instances in point. He apparently kept no record of these stories, for in 1922 he wrote to Pinker asking if he could trace them.

·     [No more than five stories – out of, say, 112 that Maugham wrote in toto – can be shown to be revised versions of early works originally written before the First World War. So the statement “time and again he has resurrected stories written in his youth” is hardly accurate. Besides, only two of these five were revised. The rest were rewritten, which is a very different matter. Revision means that the story is improved but remains substantially the same. Rewriting means what it says: writing a new story on the same plot lines. Mr Stott is strong on bold statements, but when it comes to close examination of contents he leaves a great deal to be desired. In this entry, he provides not a single cross-reference to explain the complex history of Maugham’s last short story collection. True, he does so in Section D, intermittently, but he should have done so here, too.]

·     Contents: The Author Excuses Himself [preface] – The Colonel's Lady [D152] – Flotsam and Jetsam [D120a] – Appearance and Reality [D104] – The Mother [D18] –Sanatorium [D111] – A Woman of Fifty [D153] – The Romantic Young Lady [D160] – A Casual Affair [D103] – The Point of Honour [D158] – Winter Cruise [D125a] – The Happy Couple [D141] – A Man from Glasgow [D8a] – The Unconquered [D143] – Episode [D157] – The Kite.

·     [All stories except “The Kite” were published in magazines, two of them before WWI (“The Mother”, “A Man from Glasgow”), the rest between November 1934 and March 1947. Mr Whitehead has speculated[13] that the other two “Spanish Stories”, namely “The Point of Honour” and “The Romantic Young Lady”, also stemmed from early versions, but none has so far been identified in periodicals, typescript or manuscript. “The Happy Couple” appeared in a magazine as early as 1908, but the later version included here is thoroughly rewritten and virtually a different story; it was published in Redbook in 1943.]

·     [For further details on the five youthful stories Maugham recycled later in his life, see D8a, D12, D15, D16, D18.]

                      A66b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., July 1947.

·     [This edition, of course, also contains the original introduction titled “The Author Excuses Himself”, pp. 3-6. Mr Stott missed that in his Collation, but he didn’t miss to inform his readers that “each story has a title page printed in grey with decorative design and border in white and title in black.”]

                      A66c.    [Avon Modern Short Story Monthly #51, Avon, 1950. reprints 7/15 stories.]

      A67.   Catalina (1948) [20th novel, last work of fiction]

                      A67a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 19 August 1948. Subtitled “A Romance”.

                      A67b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 26 October 1948.

·     Catalina was serialised in 4 issues of The Windmill, the first two instalments appearing before book publication. It was also serialised in Harper’s Magazine beginning with the June 1948 issue. [See D170.]

·     Somerset Maugham was looked upon by the reading public as such fabulously successful novelist, that it came as a surprise to many to know how recent was his success. In 1930, Harper’s were writing to Pinker: ‘Maugham still needs a good deal of advertising to put him across.’ And this was after the publication of his most popular book of short stories Ashenden. He did not really come into the top-selling class in his own country until The Razor’s Edge was published in a first edition of 50 000 copies. In America, however, he achieved recognition earlier through the serialisation of his short stories in the Hearst Magazines Cosmopolitan and Nash’s. For these contributions he was paid a dollar a word up to 6 000 words. In a letter to Eddie Marsh in the Berg Collection in the New York Public Library, Maugham writes: ‘Since you toiled over the proof it may slightly interest you to know that by the end of its first month The Razor’s Edge had sold 507 000 copies. I will not pretend that I am not staggered.’

      A68.   Quartet (1948) [short stories]

                      A68a.    First edition, William Heinemann, Ltd., 28 October 1948. “Stories by W. Somerset Maugham”. “Screen-Plays by R. C. Sheriff”. Foreword by Mr Sheriff, pp. v-vii. Illus. with front. port. and 4 plates (stills from the movie).

                      A68b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., May 1949. Copyright copy deposited Library of the Congress, 12 May 1949. Lacks the illustrations.

·     Script of the film by R. C. Sheriff. Reprints also the four stories upon which the film is based. The Facts of Life from The Mixture as Before [A58] – The Alien Corn from First Person Singular [A42] – The Kite and The Colonel’s Lady from Creatures of Circumstance [A66]. Mr. Maugham made a personal appearance in the film, introducing each story. These introductions are printed in the book.

·     [The introductions are certainly printed in the book and they were no doubt written by Maugham, not by Mr. Sheriff. But Mr Stott and I seem to have seen different movies. Only one of Maugham’s introductions actually appears on the screen, and that one is a general introduction before the first story (which, oddly, is printed before the last one in the book). The special introductions to the stories were either never shot in the first place or for some reason cut from the final product. The latter seems slightly more likely because the movie appeared two days before the book. What sense would it make to print parts of the script that can’t be seen and heard on the screen? In any case, it remains a mystery why these introductions are missing in the film. All of them, except for the general part, are rare pieces not to be found anywhere else in Maugham’s works. I give them here complete:]

·     [“The story you are now going to see is called The Facts of Life, but I didn't invent it. I was sitting one night in Monte Carlo in the Casino with a friend having a glass of beer before going home to bed, and then he suddenly told me this story out of the blue. It amused me and I hope it will amuse you. He assured me it was perfectly true, but it was very late at night and I dare say he embroidered on the facts a little. Anyhow I don't think any young man would be wise in going to Monte Carlo hoping that anything of the sort would happen to him, because it wouldn't... The Facts of Life.”]

·     [“I think the moral of this story is that it's a great help in this life to be born lucky, but of course that isn't enough. You have to have the brains to take advantage of your luck and the determination to make the best possible use of it, because unfortunately you can't count on it.”]

·     [“The Alien Corn is a story about a young man who wanted to be a pianist. He was a great friend of mine and it has been a grief to me that his life was wasted. There is a certain amount of invention in the story of course, but the main facts are as I have stated them.”]

·     [“In the arts many are called but few are chosen. It's not enough to have a burning desire to paint, to write or to play an instrument. You must have at least a streak of talent and that is a gift of nature. If you haven't got no amount of industry will help you, but if you have that streak only unremitting industry will enable you to make something worth while out of it. I am quite sure of this – that it's better to be a good plumber or a good typist than an indifferent painter, writer or pianist.”]

·     [“The story we are going to show you now is called The Kite. I should tell you right away that it isn't my story at all. I only wrote it. Before the war I had some small connection with the Prisoner's Aid Society and on that account I heard some stories that interested me. This was one of them. I hesitated to write it for a long time because to tell you the truth, I couldn't quite understand it myself. So at last I said to myself: Well there's only one thing to do and that is to sit down and write it and see how it comes out. That is precisely what I did.... The Kite.”]

·     [“Since The Kite was published, I have received any number of letters from psychologists and psycho-analysts explaining my story to me. And all I can tell you is that if Herbert Sunbury and his mother knew what shocking instincts lay behind his unfortunate passion for flying a kite, they would be very much surprised.”]

·     [“The fourth is called The Colonel's Lady. I should like to tell you how the idea of it came to me, but if I did I should spoil it. So I'm not going to till after you've seen it.”]

·     [“I got the idea for this story nearly fifty years ago, but I may tell you that I was comparatively young man at the time. I was listening to two women gossiping. It appears that one of their friends had just published a book of passionate love poems which were obviously not addressed to her husband, and they were wondering how the husband would take it. I thought it would make a pretty good subject for a story and made a note of it. Then I forgot all about it. But one day two years ago I happened to be going through my old notebooks and came across it. I still thought it was a pretty good subject for a short story, so I wrote it.”]

·     [After the last story there is a short and charming epilogue. It is slightly abridged on the screen, but it is substantially the same piece as printed in the book:]

·     [“Now you have seen all these stories, and I shall be happy if they have given you as much pleasure to see as they gave me to write. At the start I told you that I had used in my writings pretty well everything that has happened to me in the course of my life. It has been a long and varied one. I think I have learnt a little something about human nature and I have tried to tell others what I knew as truthfully and honestly as I could. The public – you – have been very kind to me, but sooner or later we must part. I hope we shall part good friends.”]

·     [Cast. The Facts of Life: Jack Watling (Nicky), Mai Zetterling (Jeanne), Basil Radford (Henry Garnet). The Alien Corn: Dirk Bogarde (George Bland), Francoise Rosay (Lea Makart), Honor Blackman (Paula), Raymond Lovell (Sir Frederick), James Hayter (Foreman of the Jury). The Kite: Mrs Sunbury (Hermione Baddeley), George Cole (Herbert Sunbury), Susan Shaw (Betty Baker), Mervyn Johns (Samuel Sunbury). The Colonel’s Lady: Cecil Parker (George Parker), Nora Swinburne (Evie Peregrine), Linden Travers (Daphne), Ernest Thesiger (Henry Dashwood), Felyx Aylmer (Martin).]

      A69.   Great Novelists and their Novels (1948) [6th non-fiction]

                      A69a.    First edition, John C. Winston Company, Philadelphia, September 1948. “Essays on the Ten Greatest Novels of the World, and the Men and Women Who Wrote Them”. Illustrated with pen and ink portraits of the authors by Robert W. Arnold.

·     The American edition was on sale in England and distributed by John Crowther (Publishers) Ltd., of Bognor Regis. The material of this book, which the author has described as his first book of essays, appeared in the American Atlantic Monthly under the title Ten Best Novels, issues commencing November 1947 onwards [D161D169]. These were again reprinted as introductions to new editions of the ten novels (issued by Winston [C36C45]) and edited by Mr. Maugham to omit ‘everything but the story the author has to tell… some people have cultivated the art of skipping to their profit; but most people haven’t; it is surely better that they should have their skipping done for them by someone of taste and discernment. If he has made a good job of it he should be able to give the reader a novel of which he can read every word with enjoyment.’

·     [Contents: “The Ten Best Novels of the World” – Leo Tolstoy and War and Peace – Honoré de Balzac and Old Man Goriot – Henry Fielding and Tom Jones – Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice – Stendhal and The Red and the Black – Emily Brönte and Wuthering Heights – Gustave Flaubert and Madame Bovary – Charles Dickens and David Copperfield – Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Brothers Karamazov – Herman Melville and Moby Dick – Postscript.]

                      A69b.    First English edition, under the title Ten Novels and Their Authors, William Heinemann Ltd, 25 October 1954. [This entry wrongly given as “A69a”.]

·     As pointed out in the note to the American edition, these essays were written as introductions to a reissue of the ten novels. They were written in a hurry and the author has, on reflection, seen fit to revise extensively each biography. Considerable new material has been added, the introduction has been extended, and there is an interesting new chapter in which the author sums up the whole field of creative literary activity – a subject that has always held for him a singular fascination.

·     A number of these essays, including the introduction and the conclusion, were serialised in The Sunday Times (D181) and in the final instalment the Editor describes them as ‘one of the most distinguished and successful serials ever to appear in these columns[’]. The negotiations for the publication were carried through Ian Fleming who was then on its staff, and this correspondence is in the Berg Collection in the New York Public Library.

·     There was also a Colonial edition issued on 11 October 1954 at 21s. Reprinted in Heinemann’s Mercury Book No. 38 (1963).

·     [Contents: 1. The Art of Fiction – 2. Henry Fielding and Tom Jones – 3. Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice – 4. Stendhal and Le Rouge et le Noir – 5. Balzac and La Père Goriot – 6. Charles Dickens and David Copperfield – 7. Flaubert and Madame Bovary – 8. Herman Melville and Moby Dick – 9. Emily Brönte and Wuthering Heights – 10. Dostoevsky and The Brothers Karamazov – 11. Tolstoy and War and Peace – 12. In Conclusion.]

·     [Epigraph:

J’ai toujours aimé les correspondaces, les conversations, les pensées, tous le détails du caractère, des moeurs, de la biographie en un mot, des grands écrivains…



La première condition d’un roman est d’intéresser. Or, pour cela, il faut illusionner le lectueur à tel point qu’il puisse croire que ce qu’on lui raconte est réellement arrivé.


                      A69c.    [The Art of Fiction: an Introduction to 10 Novels and their Authors, Doubleday, 1955. First American edition of A69b. Mr Stott mentions it in his notes and does list it as B24, but he really should have included it here as A69c. Bibliographers have strange ways of doing some things.]

      A70.   A Writer’s Notebook (1949) [7th non-fiction]

                      A70a.    Preprint edition, Hearst Magazine Building, 1949. “Preprinted from Cosmopolitan Magazine”. “This book is a preprint of the condensed version of “A Writer’s Notebook” being serialised in Cosmopolitan Magazine. It is not for sale. The complete book will be published in the fall of 1949 by Doubleday and Company, Inc.”.

·     Although the book was stated to have been issued in a limited edition ‘not for sale’, the edition was very substantial – about 6 000 copies. Later, most were said to have been withdrawn and sent to military hospitals.

                      A70b.    First and Trade edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 3 October 1949. “In / Loving Memory of My Friend / Frederick Gerald Haxton / 1892–1944”. Preface, pp. vii-xvi. Price: 12s. 6d.

                      A70c.    Limited edition (separate impression from the same formes), William Heinemann Ltd, 1949. “This edition of “A Writer’s Notebook” / is limited to 1000 copies and is signed / by the Author. / Number…”. Published simultaneously with A70b. Price: £ 2,2.

                      A70d.    American First and Limited edition, Doubleday and Company, Inc., 20 October 1949 (simultaneously with the trade edition).  “This Edition is limited to One Thousand / Numbered and Signed copies, of which / Nine Hundred and Eighty-five are for sale / This is number…”. Preface, pp. vii-xvi. Portrait by Sir Gerald Kelly, inserted. Price: $15.

                      A70e.    First American and Trade edition (separate impression from the same formes), Doubleday and Company, Inc., 20 October 1949. “First edition after the printing of a limited edition of one thousand numbered and signed copies”. Preface, pp. vii-xvi. Portrait by Sir Gerald Kelly, inserted. Price: $4.

      A71.   Trio (1950) [short stories]

                      A71a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 13 November 1950. “Stories by W. Somerset Maugham / Screen adaptation by W. Somerset Maugham. R. C. Sheriff and Noel Langley. Illus. front. port. and 3 plates (stills from the film).

                      A71b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., December 1950. Lack the illustrations.

·     Reprints also the three stories upon which the film is based. The Verger and Mr Know-All from Cosmopolitans [A50]; Sanatorium from Creatures of Circumstance [A66]. Mr. Maugham made a personal appearance in the film, introducing each story. These introductions are printed in the book.

·     There was an odd sequel to the filming of The Verger. It appears that a Mr. Konrad Bercovici wrote a story closely similar in the early twenties, and made a claim on the grounds of breach of copyright. Mr. Maugham was rightly indignant, stating that it was strange that he should have waited 30 years (for The Verger was published in Hearst’s International Magazine in 1929 before taking any action. Maugham had actually been told the story by Ivor Back, who was then Head Surgeon at St. George’s Hospital, but admitted that after the publication in Hearst’s International Magazine he had received letters from various parts of the world informing him that it was an old Jewish story. The correspondence relating this incident appears in the A. P. Watts correspondence in the Berg Collection in the New York Public Library.

·     [Unlike Quartet (A68), all of Maugham’s introductions printed in this book are complete and unabridged on the screen. ''The Verger'' has no special introduction on its own but follows immediately after the general part. It is not clear, unfortunately, which of the three screenplays was written by Maugham, but according to some manuscript evidence the chances are that this was “Mr Know-All”; see Appendix I where Mr Stott does list the manuscript but does not make it clear whether it was filmed. Perhaps significantly, the movie version of Mr Know-All differs only slightly, much less so than “The Verger” for example, from the original story.]

·     [Maugham’s introductions, in spite of their pleasant near-completeness on the screen, remain hard-to-find rarities and, therefore, are quoted here in full:]

·     [“Well, ladies and gentlemen. If you see me facing you once again in this unaccustomed role for me, you have only yourselves to blame. If you hadn’t liked the four stories which we showed in Quartet, we shouldn’t have been encouraged to show you three more. Of course, we know it is a risk to try to repeat a success, and we have to leave it to you to judge if we’ve been well advised or not.”]

·     [“Mr Know-All, I believe, is a story of my own invention, but I shouldn’t like to have to go into the witness box in a court of law and take my oath on it. I think I might venture to make use of a phrase of Dr. Johnson’s, and say that if a story is good, it’s unlikely to be new, and if it’s new, it’s unlikely to be good. The fact is, we story tellers, like the hero of a celebrated poem, have too late into a world too old.”]

·     [“The Sanatorium is a story founded on my own experiences, and if you like to take the character of Ashenden as a flattering portrait of the old party who stands before you, you are at perfect liberty to do so.”]

·     [Cast. The Verger: James Hayter (Albert Forman), Kathleen Harrison (Emma Brown/Mrs Foreman), Michael Horden (The Vicar), Felyx Aylmer (Bank manager). Mr Know-All: Nigel Patrick (Kelada), Anne Crawford (Mrs Ramsay), Nauton Wayne (Mr Ramsay), Wilfred Hyde White (Gray). Sanatorium: Jean Simmons (Evie Bishop), Michael Rennie (Major Templeton), Roland Culver (Mr Ashenden), Raymond Huntley (Mr Chester), Betty Ann Davies (Mrs Chester), John Laurie (Mr Campbell), Finlay Currie (Mr McLeod), Andre Morell (Dr Lennox).]

      A72.   The Writer’s Point of View (1951) [pamphlet]

                      A72a.    First edition, Cambridge University Press, December 1951. “The Ninth Annual Lecture of the National Book League, delivered by W. Somerset Maugham, at the Kingsway Hall, W.C.2, on Wednesday October 24 1951, the Right Honourable Sir Norman Birkett in the Chair.” [See also D54.]

      A73.   Encore (1952) [short stories]

                      A73a.    First edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 7 January 1952. “Stories by W. Somerset Maugham / Screen adaptation by T. E. B. Clarke, Arthur McRae and Eric Ambler”. Illus. front. port., and 3 plates (stills from the film).

                      A73b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., June 1952. Lacks the illus.

·     Reprints also the three stories upon which the film is based. The Ant and the Grasshopper [A50] – Winter Cruise [A66] – and Gigolo and Gigolette [A58]. The author made a personal appearance in the film, introducing each story. These introductions are printed in the book.

·     [Unlike Quartet (A68), all of Maugham’s introductions printed in this book are complete and unabridged on the screen – except the one about “The Ant and the Grasshopper” which is omitted. However, even those that are not remain hard-to-find rarities; therefore, all are quoted here in full:]

·     [“Ladies and gentlemen, I am really quite ashamed to face you again. You will begin to think I fancy myself a film actor, but I assure you that I don’t. It is because I don’t that I am talking to you from my garden. I thought that if you were tired of looking at me you could look at the flowers. Today you’re going to see three more of my stories arranged for the screen by three very clever script writers. The stories are founded on fact, but of course they are fiction, and like every other author I have looked upon it as my right to arrange my facts to suit my purpose, which was to entertain.”]

·     [“The aim of “The Ant and the Grasshopper” is to amuse. You must not look in it for a moral because there isn’t one. My hero was a very lucky man; he is just the exception which proves the rule that, on the whole, honesty is the best policy and, in this hard world, if you want to eat you must work.” Not in the movie.]

·     [“Winter Cruise” was suggested to me by a woman I met on a journey in the South Seas. She had a heart of gold, but she was a crashing bore. I avoided her like the plague, but I couldn’t help liking her, and I hope you will too.”]

·     [“Gigolo and Gigolette” is a story about two people in the show business. In it you are going to see something of their lives from the inside. For my part I wish there were laws to prevent them from risking their life and limb night after night to give the public a morbid thrill, but there aren’t, and so to earn a hazardous living they will continue to break their backs and break their necks for your amusement”.]

·     [Cast. The Ant and the Grasshopper: Nigel Patrick (Tom Ramsay), Roland Culver (George Ramsay), Peter Graves (Philip Cronshaw), Dorothy Bramhall (Miss Farrow). Winter Cruise: Kay Walsh (Miss Reid), Noel Purcell (Captain), Ronald Squire (Doctor), John Laurie (Chief Engineer), Jacques Francois (Pierre), John Horsley (Mate). Gigolo and Gigolette: Glynis Johns (Stella), Terence Morgan (Syd), Mary Merrall (Flora Penezzi), Martin Miller (Carlo Penezzi), David Hutcheson (Sandy Westcott), Heather Thatcher (Eva Barrett).]

      A74.   The Vagrant Mood (1952) [8th non-fiction]

                      A74a.    First and Limited edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 27 October 1952. Six Essays. “This Edition of “The Vagrant Mood” is limited to 500 copies and is signed by the Author.” Author’s note, p. [iv]. Price: £ 3 3s.

                      A74b.    First Trade edition, William Heinemann Ltd, 27 October 1952. Price: 12s.

·     Three of the essays appeared previously in The Cornhill [D174, D175, D176]. The essay Reflections on a Certain Book formed a lecture given by Mr. Maugham at the Philosophical Colloquium of Columbia University under the title Beauty and the Professor. It has, however, been re-written for book form. Part of the final essay appeared in Life and Letters (June 1931 [D92]).

                      A74c.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., December 1953.

·     [Contents: Augustus – Zurbaran – The Decline and Fall of the Detective Story –– After Reading Burke – Reflections on a Certain Book – Some Novelists I Have Known.]

·     [How do Mr Stott and other Maugham scholars know about the history of these essays? They have examined and compared manuscripts, periodicals and final versions? They have studied Maugham’s “career” as lecturer in detail? Almost but not quite. They mostly repeated what he wrote. The so-called “author’s note” is probably the same as this short message that appears in the Vintage Classics edition:]

·     [“Three of the essays in this volume appeared in The Cornhill. One was delivered as a lecture at the Philosophical Colloquium of the University of Columbia, but I have rewritten it in the hope of making it more easily readable. Part of the final essay appeared many years ago in Life and Letters. / W. S. M.”]

      A75.   The Noble Spaniard (1953) [play, translation/adaptation]

                      A75a.    First edition, Evans Brothers Limited, 1953. “A Comedy in Three Acts by W. Somerset Maugham, adapted from the French of Grenet-Dancourt”. Acting Edition. General Editor: Lionel Hale. A. B. Walkley’s criticism from Times as an introduction.

·     The Noble Spaniard was written in 1908. The play was first produced at the New Royalty Theatre, London, on 20 March 1909 with Charles Hawtrey and Kate Cutler in the cast.

·     [The first run was 55 performances and had Feed the Brute by George Paston as curtain-raiser. Also according to Mander and Mitchenson (F93), since the play was published and broadcast on 28 December 1953, “it has received numerous repertory productions up and down country.”]

      A76.   The Moon and Sixpence (1957) [opera]

                      A76a.    First edition, 1957. “Opera in Three Acts. Music by John Gardner. Libretto by Patrick Terry, after the novel by W. Somerset Maugham. This opera was commissioned by the Sadler’s Wells Trust Ltd. First performance, Sadler’s Wells Theatre, 24th May, 1957.” The booklet (44 pp.) was sold in the Theatre (5s.) during the run of the Opera.

·     The booklet was sold in the Theatre (5s.) during the run of the Opera.

·     [It remains a mystery why Mr Stott considered this booklet worth including among Maugham’s books, plays and pamphlets.]

·     When the project of making The Moon and Sixpence into an opera was first mooted, Maugham wrote to A. P. Watt: ‘I know of course there is no money to be made out of making an opera of The Moon and Sixpence, but if John Gardner has any talent it would be worth while giving him the rights if he wants them. I don’t know how you can find out if the rights are free. I don’t even know if Edith Ellis is still alive. I know that Warner Bros. sold the film rights, and the picture was eventually produced with success. I forget the name of the present owners, but I don’t think they would raise any objection to the story being made into an opera.’

·     When I next met Mr. Maugham soon after the opera had been produced (and so far as I know it was a success) he asked me what I thought of it, and I told him quite truthfully that though the music was written in such a way it sounded off-key, the cumulative effect was extremely impressive and when the curtain came down on the final scene, it left one strangely moved. Maugham listened with interest, but made no comment.

      A77.   Points of View (1958) [9th non-fiction]

                      A77a.    First edition, Heinemann, 3 November 1958. “Contents and acknowledgements, p. [v]; publisher’s note, p. [vi].

·     Prior to publication Heinemann issued one of the essays, The Saint, in pamphlet form, presumably for the use of their travellers.

                      A77b.    First American edition, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1959. Author’s Note, p. [8]; acknowledgements, p. [7].

·     Mr. Maugham announced that this was the last book he would ever publish and the publisher’s note went on to say ‘and since he seems to have a way of doing what he says he is going to do, we may safely that with this volume of essays he will take his leave of the reading public and so put an end to a relationship that with “Liza of Lambeth” began just over sixty years ago.’

·     Contents: Three Novels of a Poet – The Saint – Prose and Dr. Tillotson – The Short Story – Three Journalists.

·     [Vintage Classics edition, “Acknowledgements”:]

·     [“The author wishes to thank Messrs Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd for permission to quote from Life and Works of Goethe by Professor J. G. Robertson and Mercure de France for permission to quote from Lettres à ma Mère by Paul Léutand, as well as Messrs Jonathan Cape Ltd for the quotation from Between Two Worlds by J. Middleton Murry.]

      A78.   Purely for My Pleasure (1962) [art album with short commentaries]

                      A78a.    First edition, Heinemann, 9 April 1962. “© W. S. Maugham 1962 / © S.P.A.D.E.M., Paris, 1962; plates of works by Bonnard, Laurencin, Leger, Matisse, Monet, Picasso, Renoir, Rouault, Utrillo, Vuillard.” Made and Printed in Great Britain. Col. front. and 37 plates. List of illus., pp. v-viii. Price: 3 pounds 3s.

                      A78b.    First American edition