Wit And Wisdom From Somerset Maugham’s Stories Will Make You Look Life In The Face

You can find snippets of wit and wisdom from Somerset Maugham’s stories.

For those who are ardent fan of Maugham know that his stories clearly reflect his wry perception of human foibles.

Most of his stories mean to scrutinize the human nature.

His forte was exposing the bitter reality of human relationships.

Most of Maughm’s stories and personal observations are infused with wit and wisdom of human life.

Besides churning out novels, short stories, plays, essays and literary criticism, this English writer is also known for his travel books.

The late British playwright, novelist and short story writer, William Somerset Maugham is one of my all time favorite author.

I have most of his novels and compilations of short stories.

With the advent of Internet, we can get to read most of his literary works free online.

Wit And Wisdom From Somerset Maugham's Stories

And not forgetting the many free movies based on his stories, available on YouTube.

Maugham was once an accountant and then he studied medicine at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

In 1897, he qualified as Member of the Royal College of Surgeons and licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, London.

And that very same year, his first novel ‘Liza of Lambeth‘ was published.

From then on, he went to Seville in Spain and took up writing full-time.

He produced many great writings, which include” ‘The Hero‘, ‘Mrs. Craddock‘, ‘The Merry-Go-Round‘, ‘The Explorer‘, ‘Moon and Sixpence‘, ‘The Trembling Of A Leaf‘, and ‘The Painted Veil‘.

Then he went back to London and immersed in play-writing and novels.

Even he was a predominantly gay, he married to Gwendolyn Maude Syrie Barnardo, who was the wife of American British pharmaceutical entrepreneur, Sir Henry Solomon Wellcome in 1917.

They had a daughter Elizabeth Mary Maugham “Liza”.

In 1928, Maugham move permanently to the French Riviera.

In his later years he wrote many essays, short stories and novels.

Among them are: ‘Cakes and Ale‘, ‘The Narrow Corner‘, ‘Don Fernando‘, ‘The Summing Up‘, ‘Up At The Villa‘, ‘The Razor’s Edge‘, ‘Then And Now‘,  ‘Creatures Of Circumstance‘ and ‘Catalina‘.

On 16 December 1965, 91 year-old William Somerset Maugham died in Nice, France.

Wit And Wisdom From Somerset Maugham’s Stories

Below are a list of fully verified authentic Somerset Maugham quotes about life,  love, writing, money and God.


“I prefer a loose woman to a selfish one and a wanton to a fool.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Complete Short Stories By William Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, 1952, Virtue, P. 631)

(The quote is also found in: Collected Stories By William Somerset Maugham, Everyman’s Library, 2004, Virtue, P. 373)

(The quote is also found in: Collected Stories By William Somerset Maugham, Everyman’s Library, 2004, Virtue, P. 373)


“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don’t.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1921, Ch. XI, P. 30)

(The quote is also found in: The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, Ch. 11)


“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1921, Ch. LXVI, P. 233)

(The quote is also found in: The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, Ch. 66)


“…if it is necessary sometimes to lie to others, it is always despicable to lie to oneself.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1921, Ch. LXX, P. 248)

(The quote is also found in: The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, Ch. 70, P. 246)


“…one cannot find peace in work or in pleasure, in the world or in a convent, but only in one’s soul.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1921, Ch. XLVIII, P. 161)

(The quote is also found in: The Painted Veil By W. Somerset Maugham, Arno Press, 1977, Ch. 48, P. 164)


“People don’t want reasons to do what they’d like to … They want excuses.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Theatre: A Novel By William Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran, Incorporated, 1937, Ch. 14, P. 124)

(The quote is also found here.)


“Don’t be natural …The stage isn’t the place for that. The stage is make-believe. But seem natural.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Theatre: A Novel By William Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran, Incorporated, 1937, Ch. 2, P. 16)

(The quote is also found here.)


“Life is short, nature is hostile, and man is ridiculous; but oddly enough most misfortunes have their compensations, and with a certain humour and a good deal of horse-sense one can make a fairly good job of what is after all a matter of very small consequence.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Narrow Corner By Somerset Maugham, Penguin, 1993, Ch. XXII, P. 146)

(The quote is also found in: The Narrow Corner By Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran, 1932, Ch. XXII, P.  206)


“With advancing years, mercifully, you can snap your fingers at the terror and the servitude of love, but age cannot free you from the thraldom of vanity.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Ashenden: or, The British Agent By William Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran, 1941, Ch. XII, His Excellency, P. 230)

(The quote is also found in: Ashenden: or, The British Agent By William Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, Ch. 12, His Excellency, P. 249)

(Another source of the quote is found here.)


“Time can assuage the pangs of love, but only death can still the anguish of wounded vanity.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Ashenden By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, Ch. XXII, His Excellency, P. 249)

(The quote is also found in: Ashenden By W. Somerset Maugham, Penguin Books, 1992, Ch. XXII, His Excellency, P. 180)

(Another source of the quote is found here.)


“Love is simple and seeks no subterfuge, but vanity cozens you with a hundred disguises. It is part and parcel of every virtue: it is mainspring of courage and the strength of ambition; it gives constancy to the lover and endurance to the stoic; it adds fuel to the fire of the artist’s desire for fame and is at once the support and the compensation of the honest man’s integrity; it leers even cynically in the humility of the saint.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Ashenden By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, Ch. XXII, His Excellency, P. 249)

(The quote is also found here.)


“Sincerity cannot protect you from its (vanity) snare nor humour from its mockery.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Ashenden By W. Somerset Maugham, Penguin Books, 1992, 2009, Ch. XXII, His Excellency, P. 249)

(The quote is also found in: Ashenden By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, Ch. XXII, His Excellency, P. 250)


Men seek but one thing in life — their pleasure.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1915, III, P. 158)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, 1915, Collier By Special Arrangement With Doubleday, Doran, 1943, III, P. 232)


“Money is like a sixth sense, without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five. Without an adequate income half the possibilities of life are shut off.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1915, LI, P. 304)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House Publishing Group, 2006, LI, P. 286)

(Another source of the quote is found here.)


“…people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh. They do not know how mean it makes you. It exposes you to endless humiliation, it cuts your wings, it eats into your soul like cancer.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1915, LI, P. 304)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House Publishing Group, 2006, LI, P. 286)


Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all…” – William Somerset Maugham

(Cakes And Ale Or The Skeleton In The Cupboard By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd., 1930, XI, P. 123)

(The quote is also found in: Cakes And Ale By W. Somerset Maugham, Modern Library, 1950, XI, P. 124)


Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practised at spare moments; it is a whole-time job.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Cakes And Ale Or The Skeleton In The Cupboard By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd., 1930, I, P. 14)

(The quote is also found in: Cakes And Ale By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1935, I, P. 15)


“…when you are young you take the kindness people show you as your right…” – William Somerset Maugham

(Cakes And Ale Or The Skeleton In The Cupboard By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd., 1930, XII, P. 145)

(The quote is also found in: Cakes And Ale By W. Somerset Maugham, Modern Library, 1950, XII, P. 147)


“You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With Double day, Doran & Company, 1915, XXIII, P. 97)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday & Company, Inc, 1936, XXIII, P. 83)


“It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With Double day, Doran & Company, 1915, XXIX, P. 125)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, With Introduction By Robert Calder, Penguin, 1992, XXIX, P. 121)


“Life wouldn’t be worth living if I worried over the future as well as the present. When things are at their worst I find something always happens.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With Double day, Doran & Company, 1915, LXVI, P. 334)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, The Floating Press, 2009, LXVI, P. 705)


“There’s always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With Double day, Doran & Company, 1915, LXXI, P. 366)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, With Introduction By Robert Calder, Penguin, 1992, LXXI, P. 346)


“It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With Double day, Doran & Company, 1915, CXXII, P. 647)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2010, 122, P. 699)


“He had heard people speak contemptuously of money: he wondered if they had tried to do without it.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With Double day, Doran & Company, 1915, CXXII, P. 612)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By W. Somerset Maugham, The Floating Press, 2009, CXVI, P. 1294)


“People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1915, L, P. 297)

(The quote is also found in: Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, 1915, Collier By Special Arrangement With Doubleday, Doran, 1943, L, P. 267)


“It is cruel to discover one’s mediocrity only when it is too late.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage By William Somerset Maugham, Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1915, LI, P. 305)

(The quote is also found in:Of Human Bondage (Diversion Classics) By W. Somerset Maugham, Diversion Books, 2016, LI)


“Impropriety is the soul of wit.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap Publishers By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.IV; P.24)

(This quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.IV; p.10)


“I don’t think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting present.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XXI; p.116)

(This quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XXI; p.59)


“…one of the falsest of proverbs is that you must lie on the bed that you have made. The experience of life shows that people are constantly doing things which must lead to disaster, and yet by some chance manage to evade the result of their folly.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XXXIII, P. 173)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XXXIII, P. 89)


“We must go through life so inconspicuously that Fate does not notice us.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon and Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XXXVIII, P. 189)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XXXVIII, P. 98)


“We are here none knows why, and we go none knows whither.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XXXVIII, P. 189)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon and Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XXXVIII, P. 98)


“We must see the beauty of quietness.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XXXVIII, P. 189)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XXXVIII, P. 98)


“The writer is more concerned to know than to judge.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XLI, P. 203)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XLI, P. 105)


“A woman can forgive a man for the harm he does her…but she can never forgive him for the sacrifices he makes on her account.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XLI, P. 206)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon and Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Courier Corporation, 2012, Ch.XLI, P. 107)


“…self-doubt, which is the artist’s bitterest enemy…” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Grosset & Dunlap By Arrangement With George H. Doran Company, 1919, Ch.XLIII, P. 222)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2008, Ch.XLIII, P. 150)


“…men are always the same. Fear makes them cruel…” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Modern Library, 1919, Ch.LV,  P. 320)

(The quote is also found in: The Moon And Sixpence By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2008, Ch.LV, P. 202)


“A god that can be understood is no God” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Razor’s Edge By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran & Co.,1944, Vi, P. 285)

(The quote is also found in: The Razor’s Edge By W. Somerset Maugham, Penguin Books, 1963, Vi, P. 261)


“…things don’t get any easier by putting them off.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Razor’s Edge By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran & Co.,1944, Iv, P. 69)

(The quote is also found in: The Razor’s Edge By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2008, 1945, 4, P. 69)


“Life is full of improbabilities which fiction does not admit of.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Vagrant Mood: Six Essays By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1922, The Decline And Fall Of The Detective Story, II, P. 99)

(The quote is also found in: The Vagrant Mood By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, II, P. 82)


“When you know a man’s surroundings you already know something about the man.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Vagrant Mood: Six Essays By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1922, The Decline And Fall Of The Detective Story, IV, P. 121)

(This quote is also found in: The Vagrant Mood By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, IV, P. 100)


“The great compensation of old age, …is its freedom of spirit…” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Partial View By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1917, Preface, P. Vii)


Old age liberates you from envy, hatred and malice.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Partial View By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1917, Preface, P. Vii)


“If God exist and he concerns himself with the affairs of humanity, then surely he will take a lenient view, as lenient a view as a sensible man takes, of the weakness of human beings.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Partial View By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1917, Preface, P. Xii)


“The novelist is a natural propagandist. He can’t help it however hard he tries. He loads his dice.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Of Human Bondage With A Digression On The Art Of Fiction By W. Somerset Maugham, William, April 20, 1946)


“One isn’t always as careful of what one says as one should be.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Books And You By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1940, I, P. 3)

(The quote is also found here.)


“Every man is his own best critic.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Books And You By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1940, I, P. 5)

(The quote is also found here.)


“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Books And You By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinemann Ltd., 1940, I, P. 7)

(The quote is also found here.)


“To write simply is as difficult as to be good.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Don Fernando By Somerset Maugham, 1935, VI)

(The quote is also found in: W. Somerset Maugham: The Critical Heritage Edited By Anthony Curtis, John Whitehead, Routledge, 2013, 102. Terence Holliday, ‘The Love Story Of Mr. Maugham And Spain’, New York Herald Tribune, 21 July 1935, 7, P. 298)


“What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one’s faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one’s memories.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Points Of View By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2011, The Three Novels Of A Poet, P. 55)


“If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Strictly Personal By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd., 30, P. 154)

(The quote is also found in: Strictly Personal By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Incorporated, 1941, 30, P. 216)


“The Riviera isn’t only a sunny place for shady people.” – William Somerset Maugham

(Strictly Personal By W. Somerset Maugham, William Heinmann Ltd., 23, P. 109)

(The quote is also found in: Strictly Personal By W. Somerset Maugham, Doubleday, Doran and Company, Incorporated, 1941, 23, P. 156)


“Do you know that conversation is one of the greatest pleasures in life? But it wants leisure.” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Trembling Of A Leaf; Little Stories Of The South Sea Islands By W. Somerset Maugham, George H. Doran Company, 1921, III. The Fall Of Edward Barnard, P. 105)

(The quote is also found in: The Trembling Of A Leaf: (Little Stories of the South Sea Islands) By William Somerset Maugham, Mondial, 2008, III. The Fall Of Edward Barnard, P. 45)


You can do anything in this world if you’re prepared to take the consequences…” – William Somerset Maugham

(The Circle: A Comedy In Three Acts By W. Somerset Maugham, George H. Doran Company, 1921, Act III, P. 91)

(The quote is also found in: The Circle: A Comedy In Three Acts By W. Somerset Maugham, George H. Doran Company, 1921, Act III, P. 91)


“People are always a little disconcerted when you don’t recognize them, they are so important to themselves, it is a shock to discover of what small importance they are to others.” — William Somerset Maugham

(The Complete Short Stories Of W. Somerset Maugham Vol. II, William Heinemann Ltd., 1923, The Human Element, P. 994)

(The quote is also found in: Collected Short Stories, Volume 2 By W. Somerset Maugham, Random House, 2009, The Human Element)

(Another source of the quote is found in: The Favorite Short Stories Of W. Somerset Maugham, New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company, Inc., 1937, The Human Element, P. 36)


Here is a list of sites where you can read or download Somerset Maugham free ebooks:

Project Gutenberg

Open Library

ManyBooks

EbooksRead

The Complete Short Stories Of Somerset Maugham, Vol. I

The Complete Short Stories Of Somerset Maugham, Vol. II

The Complete Short Stories Of Somerset Maugham, Vol. III

W. Somerset Maugham Sixty-Five Short Stories

Maugham Short Stories

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