W. Somerset Maugham was an English playwright, novelist and short-story writer who was extremely popular in the early 20th century and worked in a variety of genres, including comic drama, detective fiction, and adventure stories. He is best known for his plays, particularly Of Human Bondage, as well as for his novels, including The Razor’s Edge and The Moon and Sixpence.
Maugham was born in 1874 and grew up in England, but spent much of his youth traveling in Europe and Asia, particularly in Southern France, where he encountered many of the characters and settings that would later be featured in his works. After training as a doctor at St. Thomas’ Hospital, he initially pursued a medical career before turning to writing because it allowed him to be more creative; he published his first novel in 1897.
Maugham became one of the most widely read authors of the early 20th century and went on to publish over 40 books, as well as several plays and short-story collections. His works often touched on themes of social class, morality, politics, and religion, as well as offering critiques of British society. Maugham was made a knight bachelor in 1954 and died in 1965.