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.
Autobiographical without being an autobiography, confessional without disclosing his private self, The Summing Up, written when Maugham was sixty-four, is an inimitable expression of a personal credo. It is not only a classic avowal of a professional author's ideas about style, literarture, art, drama and philosophy, but also an illuminating insight into this great writer's craft.
In what Somerset Maugham has written readers have found fascinating tales, sharply revealed characters, a fine narrative craft, and an author who has always been completely, honestly himself -- J.B. Priestley One of the finest short-story stylists Britain has ever produced Economist One of the most cosmopolitan English writers Washington Post