Discussion Forums - Classic Literature

Topic: W. Somerset Maugham

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: W. Somerset Maugham
Date Posted: 6/9/2009 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2006
Posts: 240
Back To Top

I recently read The Painted Veil and that inspired me to read more of his work.  I just started The Moon and Sixpence and I'm about 30 pages into it.  He has to be one of the best writers that no one ever talks about.  In all of my English/Literature classes through high school and college I was never forced to read any of his books, and I don't remember even hearing his name.  What an oversight.  He must have worked very hard to achieve the smooth flow of his writing.

Since this is the classics forum, I'm sure some of you have read his work, but for those that haven't, I highly suggest it.  He's the kind of writer that makes me want to write, even though I never have.

Date Posted: 6/9/2009 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
Back To Top

I agree.  The Razor's Edge was my favorite book when I was in my late teens/early twenties, and Of Human Bondage is one of the best (which I was assigned in high school and started me on my whole Maugham kick.). 

I loved the Painted Veil, and when I read it about ten years ago, I thought it would make a fantastic movie. I was really, really disappointed in Edward Norton's version, though.


Subject: My Favorite Author
Date Posted: 6/9/2009 4:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2008
Posts: 402
Back To Top

His ability was amazing. I was introduced to his work by watching the movie version of The Razor's Edge with Bill Murray. It is actually a pretty good flick. Then I read the book and I haven't been able to stop. I have liked all of his work especially the Painted Veil and Razor's Edge. I would think that his works would translate well to film but really they haven't. I am glad that you have found him. It does shock me that he is not discussed more since his work in my opinion is among the best of the 20th century.

Date Posted: 7/1/2009 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2006
Posts: 316
Back To Top

I think Maugham's writing scared Hollywood brickless. so much so they had to tone him down, which disappointed people who actually read the source novels. Look at the Garbo version of The Painted Veil - she's a saint, fer cryin' outloud.  The ending of Watts' Painted Veil is much less cynical than the novel, so Hollydwood now is just as nervous about audience adverse reaction as it was in the Thirties. Also, Maugham thinks passion is essentially destructive whereas Hollywood thinks passion is just wonderful.

On my bookshelf is Garson Kanin's memoir about Maugham. It's filled with WSM's table talk and good stories. Kanin was a fan (he even like "Then and Now") so fans will like it. Order it.

Interesting 6-minue video about a Maugham collector at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftxIvGuiAPA


Last Edited on: 7/1/09 10:04 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/1/2009 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
Back To Top

The pre-code Joan Crawford Rain is completely entertaining, however.  Not to mention Bette Davis's fabulous Mildred - though, in the film she died of TB rather than syphilis, of course.


Date Posted: 7/5/2009 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 25,000
Back To Top

I enjoyed the most recent version of The Painted Veil with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. It's one of my favorites actually.

I have since received the book and so far it's wonderful.