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W. Somerset Maugham was one of the twentieth century's most popular novelists as well as a celebrated playwright, critic, and short story writer. He was born in Paris but grew up in England and served as a secret agent for the British during World War I. He wrote many novels, including the classics Of Human Bondage, Cakes and Ale, Christmas Holiday, The Moon and Sixpence, Theatre, and Up at the Villa.
"The short story was Maugham's true mï¿½tier, and some of the stories he wrote are among the best in the language." -Anthony Burgess "Maugham has given infinite pleasure and left us a splendour of writing which will remain for as long as the written English word is permitted to exist." -Daily Telegraph "If all else perish, there will remain a storyteller's world...that is exclusively and forever Maugham, a world of verandah and prahu which we enter as well as we do that of Conan Doyle's Baker Street, and with a happy and eternal homecoming." -Cyril Connolly, The Times (London) "[Maugham] is as clever a craftsman as the cleverest...He chooses his themes with as quick an eye for tragedy as the most compassionate." -The Observer "A formidable talent, a formidable sum of talents." -The Spectator