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Thursday, June 21, 2012

‘Revealing Mr. Maugham’

British novelist and playwright W. Somerset Maugham waves farewell as he leaves from New York for Europe aboard the ocean liner Aquitania, on May 22, 1923. (AP)

A new documentary by Michael House tells the story of Somerset Maugham, the novelist, spy, playwright, physician and prolific writer, who took on the taboo subjects of adultery and sexual jealousy and breathed new life into the spy novel.

He was married, had male lovers, traveled the world, and watched many of his works come to the big screen. Bette Davis played the femme fatale in the ’30s film adaptation of “Of Human Bondage,” Greta Garbo was in “The Painted Veil,” and Peter Lorre, “Secret Agent.”

Revealing Mr. Maugham” also looks at the writer’s personal struggles — including a stammer that Maugham developed as a child after his parents died.

Although he was married, Maugham had a longtime relationship with an American man, Gerald Haxton, who helped the more retiring Maugham meet the people who would become characters in Maugham’s stories.

“Revealing Mr Maugham” is available for purchase online.

Somerset Maugham Novels Discussed In This Segment


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  • http://www.facebook.com/hemant.dave.353 Hemant Dave

    Tyron Power  enacted the author’s role in The Razor’s Edge coming to Himalayas to meet HolySaint(though Raman Maharshi whom he met in real Life lived  in then Mysore)It’s indeed a Masterpiece!

  • Aries32752

    I saw and read the Razors Edge back in the seventies and it opened my eyes to the fact that everything old is new again. A guy from the twenties suffering the same angst as the people in the late sixties and early seventies… 

  • Queensway

    Somerset is one of the best if not the best writer I have read almost all his novels and I can’t say which do I like the most. For example, Razors Edge is unforgettable, of Human Bondage is nothing to compare with and The man with the Scar and Unconquered are outstanding short novels. 
    I adore him as a writer, though I’m a little bit disappointed that he didn’t have good relationship with his daughter. 

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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