Item description for The Gentleman in the Parlour (Itineraria Asiatica: Burma) by W. Somerset Maugham...
Among the many memorable books on travels in Burma before the Second World War, Somerset Maugham's leisurely progress from London via Colombo, then up the Irrawaddy to Mandalay and onwards through the then peaceful Shan States to Thailand and Cambodia ranks among the most enjoyable. He was not only a sharp-eyed observer of human nature but writes about his encounters with a good deal of emphaty quite uncommon among travel writers of the 1920's
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More About W. Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He afterwards walked the wards of St. Thomas's Hospital with a view to practice in medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), won him over to letters. Something of his hospital experience is reflected, however, in the first of his masterpieces, Of Human Bondage (1915), and with The Moon and Sixpence (1919) his reputation as a novelist was assured.
His position as one of the most successful playwrights on the London stage was being consolidated simultaneously. His first play, A Man of Honour (1903), was followed by a procession of successes just before and after the First World War. (At one point only Bernard Shaw had more plays running at the same time in London.) His theatre career ended with Sheppey (1933).His fame as a short-story writer began with The Trembling of a Leaf, sub-titled Little Stories of the South Sea Islands, in 1921, after which he published more than ten collections.
W. Somerset Maugham's general books are fewer in number. They include travel books, such as On a Chinese Screen (1922) and Don Fernando (1935), essays, criticism, and the self-revealing The Summing Up (1938) and A Writer's Notebook (1949).He became a Companion of Honour in 1954.
Robert Calder is professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan.
W. Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and died in 1965.
W. Somerset Maugham has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gentleman in the Parlour (Itineraria Asiatica: Burma)?
The Best Of A Forgotten Master May 2, 1999
Somerset Maugham was one of the world's most famous and widely-read writers of the early 20th Century. Now that 100 years have passed, he is hardly read at all, except for OF HUMAN BONDAGE and maybe THE MOON AND SIXPENCE. This is a major loss for booklovers, because Maugham wrote with an incomparable dignity, clarity, and insight. In THE GENTLEMAN IN THE PARLOUR, he takes his gifts to the Far East -- into a colonial world that no longer exists on the face of the earth. He experiences a way of life that we will never see again. As a small, stammering homosexual, Maugham was far from the stereotypical conquering Englishman, yet he observed all the perquisites of class and station, traveling in style as one of the first truly rich (from his writing) authors. At all times he wrote frankly and unflinchingly, before "telling it like it is" became a catchphrase. As a self-made writer who labored to achieve and maintain his craft, he also wrote with unerring elegance. His great novels are soemwhat strained, if you will, by the dictates of fiction and his publishers. GENTLEMAN IN THE PARLOUR, however, is a purer Maugham, something closer to a remarkable human personality who should be celebrated with his contemporaries D.H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, and even James Joyce. Maugham saw inside the human heart as clearly as any of them, but perhaps modern audiences are not as pleased with what he saw.