Literary Birthday – 25 January – W. Somerset Maugham

W. Somerset Maugham born 25 January 1874, and died 16 December 1965.

13 Quotes on Reading, Writing, and Life

  1. To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.
  2. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
  3. The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.
  4. There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish, to bewail it senseless.
  5. He did not care if she was heartless, vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasping, he loved her. He would rather have misery with one than happiness with the other.
  6. She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.
  7. Habits in writing as in life are only useful if they are broken as soon as they cease to be advantageous.
  8. Things were easier for the old novelists who saw people all of a piece. Speaking generally, their heroes were good through and through, their villains wholly bad.
  9. Writing is the supreme solace.
  10. When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes part of me.
  11. The crown of literature is poetry.
  12. The writer is more concerned to know than to judge.
  13. Death is a very dull, dreary affair, and my advice to you is to have nothing whatsoever to do with it.

W. Somerset Maugham was a British playwright, novelist, and short story writer. Born in Paris, he spoke French before he spoke English. His parents died when he was 10 and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded in Of Human Bondage. He became a qualified physician, but writing was his true vocation. He was among the most popular writers of his era and reputedly the highest paid author during the 1930s.

Source for image: By Carl Van Vechten (1880 – 1964) – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3a42838r. This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons: Licensing for more information., Public Domain,

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 25th January 2013