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W. Somerset Maugham (Writer)

Do you know thatis one of the greatest pleasures in life? But it wants leisure.
W. Somerset Maugham life
The tragedy of love is indifference.
W. Somerset Maugham love
She gathered herself together. No one could describe the scorn of her expression or the contemptuous hatred she out into her answer. "You men! You filthy dirty pigs! You're all the same, all of you. Pigs! Pigs!"
W. Somerset Maugham men
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.
W. Somerset Maugham freedom
Theisn't only a sunny place for shady people.
W. Somerset Maugham people
He knew that women appreciated neither irony nor sarcasm, but simple jokes and funny stories. He was amply provided with both.
W. Somerset Maugham funny
Now the world in general doesn't know what to make of originality; it is startled out of its comfortable habits of thought, and its first reaction is one of anger.
W. Somerset Maugham art
The trouble with our younger authors is that they are all in the sixties. The Observer, `Sayings of the Week', 14 Oct 1951
W. Somerset Maugham author
It is unsafe to take your reader for more of a fool than he is.
W. Somerset Maugham you
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.
W. Somerset Maugham men
What has influenced my life more than any other single thing has been my stammer. Had I not stammered I would probably... have gone to Cambridge as my brothers did, perhaps have become a don and every now and then published a dreary book about French literature.
W. Somerset Maugham life
Dying is a very dull, dreary affair. And my advice to you is to have nothing whatever to do with it.
W. Somerset Maugham advice
To eat well in England, you should have a breakfast three times a day.
W. Somerset Maugham time
[Money] is the string with which a sardonic destiny directs the motions of its puppets.
W. Somerset Maugham destiny
My own belief is that there is hardly anyone whose sexual life, if it were broadcast, would not fill the world at large with surprise and horror.
W. Somerset Maugham life
A soul is a troublesome possession, and when man developed it he lost the Garden of Eden.
W. Somerset Maugham soul
You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action.
W. Somerset Maugham life
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.
W. Somerset Maugham truth
Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.
W. Somerset Maugham mind
Art... is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.
W. Somerset Maugham life
I do not confer praise or blame: I accept. I am the measure of all things. I am the centre of the world.
W. Somerset Maugham world
Men seek but one thing in life — their pleasure.
W. Somerset Maugham life
People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.
W. Somerset Maugham criticism
There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one's means of livelihood...Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.
W. Somerset Maugham live
You will hear 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 a cancer. It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank, and independent.
W. Somerset Maugham art
It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late.
W. Somerset Maugham
I daresay one profits more by the mistakes one makes off one's own bat than by doing the right thing on somebody's else advice.
W. Somerset Maugham advice
Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.
W. Somerset Maugham man
There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed.
W. Somerset Maugham strange
Of course it was cause and effect, but in the necessity with which follows the other lay all tragedy of life.
W. Somerset Maugham life
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.
W. Somerset Maugham future
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.
W. Somerset Maugham art
It's no use crying over spilt milk, because all of the forces of the universe were bent on spilling it.
W. Somerset Maugham universe
But when all was said the important thing was to love rather than to be loved.
W. Somerset Maugham love
There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.
W. Somerset Maugham love
It's asking a great deal that things should appeal to your reason as well as your sense of the aesthetic.
W. Somerset Maugham reason
The rain fell alike upon the just and upon the unjust, and for nothing was there a why and a wherefore.
W. Somerset Maugham rain
D'you call life a bad job? Never! We've had our ups and downs, we've had our struggles, we've always been poor, but it's been worth it, ay, worth it a hundred times I say when I look round at my children.
W. Somerset Maugham life
He had heard people speak contemptuously of money: he wondered if they had ever tried to do without it.
W. Somerset Maugham people
Page numbers used in this section are from the Penguin Classics edition (1993)
W. Somerset Maugham age
I forget who it was that recommended men for their soul's good to do each day two things they disliked ... it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed.
W. Somerset Maugham soul
Impropriety is the soul of wit.
W. Somerset Maugham soul
Conscience is the guardian in the individual of the rules which the community has evolved for its own preservation.
W. Somerset Maugham science
She saw shrewdly that the world is quickly bored by the recital of misfortune, and willingly avoids the sight of distress.
W. Somerset Maugham world
It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.
W. Somerset Maugham happiness
I don't think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting present.
W. Somerset Maugham past
Life isn't long enough for love and art.
W. Somerset Maugham love
The writer is more concerned to know than to judge.
W. Somerset Maugham writer
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.
W. Somerset Maugham man
Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.
W. Somerset Maugham time
It's no good trying to keep up old friendships. It's painful for both sides. The fact is, one grows out of people, and the only thing is to face it.
W. Somerset Maugham friendship
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.
W. Somerset Maugham time
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.
W. Somerset Maugham you
…you know what the critics are. If you tell the truth they only say you're cynical and it does an author no good to get a reputation for cynicism.
W. Somerset Maugham truth
It's very hard to be a gentleman and a writer.
W. Somerset Maugham man
…when you are young you take the kindness people show you as your right…
W. Somerset Maugham people
The writer of prose can only step aside when the poet passes…
W. Somerset Maugham writer
Page numbers in this section are from the first edition by Doubleday, Doran & Co.
W. Somerset Maugham age
I would sooner read a time-table or a catalogue than nothing at all. … They are much more entertaining than half the novels that are written.
W. Somerset Maugham time
I have not been afraid of excess: excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.
W. Somerset Maugham dead
…the future will one day be the present and will seem as unimportant as the present does now.
W. Somerset Maugham future
…we learn resignation not by our own suffering, but by the suffering of others.
W. Somerset Maugham suffering
You are not angry with people when you laugh at them. Humour teaches tolerance, and the humorist, with a smile and perhaps a sigh, is more likely to shrug his shoulders than to condemn.
W. Somerset Maugham humor
I do not believe they are right who say that the defects of famous men should be ignored. I think it is better that we should know them. Then, though we are conscious of having faults as glaring as theirs, we can believe that that is no hindrance to our achieving also something of their virtues.
W. Somerset Maugham men
The artist produces for the liberation of his soul. It is his nature to create as it is the nature of water to run down the hill.
W. Somerset Maugham art
Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young.
W. Somerset Maugham power
… habits in writing as in life are only useful if they are broken as soon as they cease to be advantageous.
W. Somerset Maugham life
The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant and kind. Failure makes people bitter and cruel.'
W. Somerset Maugham success
I'll give you my opinion of the human race in a nutshell... their heart's in the right place, but their head is a thoroughly inefficient organ.
W. Somerset Maugham art
I have been forced to conclude from this that we know our friends by their defects rather than by their merits.
W. Somerset Maugham friends
It is salutary to train oneself to be no more affected by censure than by praise…
W. Somerset Maugham self
The great critic … must be a philosopher, for from philosophy he will learn serenity, impartiality, and the transitoriness of human things.
W. Somerset Maugham philosophy
Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.
W. Somerset Maugham
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.
W. Somerset Maugham art
Old age has its pleasures, which, though different, are not less than the pleasures of youth.
W. Somerset Maugham youth
Old age is ready to undertake tasks that youth shirked because they would take too long.
W. Somerset Maugham youth
Perfection is a trifle dull. It is not the least of life's ironies that this, which we all aim at, is better not quite achieved.
W. Somerset Maugham life
We are not the same persons this year as last ; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person.
W. Somerset Maugham love
Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.
W. Somerset Maugham art
Passion is destructive; if it does not destroy, it dies.
W. Somerset Maugham die
Nothing in the world is permanent, and we're foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we're still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it. If change is of the essence of existence one would have thought it only sensible to make it the premise of our philosophy.
W. Somerset Maugham philosophy
I thought I should be a fool to allow work to interfere with a delight in the passing moment that I might never enjoy again so fully.
W. Somerset Maugham joy
He was the kind of man with whom one would have hesitated to pass a lonely evening, but with whom one might cheerfully have looked forward to spending six months.
W. Somerset Maugham war
It may be that if I lead the life I've planned for myself it may affect others; the effect may be no greater than the ripple caused by a stone thrown in a pond, but one ripple causes another.
W. Somerset Maugham life
Almost all the people who have had most effect on me I seem to have met by chance.
W. Somerset Maugham people
Don't you know? Because American women expect to find in their husbands a perfection that English women only hope to find in their butlers.
W. Somerset Maugham hope
Things don't get any easier by putting them off.
W. Somerset Maugham
He found himself now in the agreeable situation of being able to do what was best for others and at the same time what was convenient to himself.
W. Somerset Maugham time
There are men who are possessed by an urge so strong to do some particular thing that they can't help themselves, they've got to do it. They're prepared to sacrifice everything to satisfy their yearning.
W. Somerset Maugham art
Women are always glad to listen when you discourse upon love...
W. Somerset Maugham love
Passion doesn't count the cost. ... Passion is destructive.
W. Somerset Maugham passion
In art honesty is not only the best but the only policy.
W. Somerset Maugham art
Religion is...a conspiracy of...priests to gain control over the people...
W. Somerset Maugham people
The sad Don Quixote of a worthless purpose.
W. Somerset Maugham purpose
A god that can be understood is not a god.
W. Somerset Maugham god
Page numbers used in this section are from the first general edition by Country Life Press (1949)
W. Somerset Maugham age
Considering how foolishly people act and how pleasantly they prattle, perhaps it would be better for the world if they talked more and did less.
W. Somerset Maugham people
The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.
W. Somerset Maugham love
Anyone can tell the truth, but only very few of us can make epigrams.
W. Somerset Maugham truth
Men have an extraordinarily erroneous opinion of their position in nature; and the error is ineradicable.
W. Somerset Maugham nature

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