W. Somerset Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham

W. Somerset
Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham
1874
1965

English Playwright, Novelist and Short Story Writer

Author Quotes

The sea offers the only broad horizon, and the immense he saw now gave him a peculiar, an indescribable thrill. He felt suddenly elated. Though he did not know it, it was the first time that he had experienced, quite undiluted with foreign emotions, the sense of beauty.

The world consists of me and my thoughts and my feelings; and everything else is mere fancy. Life is a dream in which I create the objects that come before me. Everything knowable, every object of experience, is an idea in my mind, and without my mind it does not exist. Dream and reality are one. Life is a connected and consisted dream, and when I cease to dream, the world, with its beauty, its pain and sorrow, its unimaginable variety, will cease to be. take life as it is. just the way it is.

There are two good things in life -- freedom of thought and freedom of action.

There was no meaning in life, and man by living served no end. It was immaterial whether he was born or not born, whether he lived or ceased to live. Life was insignificant and death without consequence. Philip exulted, as he had exulted in his boyhood when the weight of a belief in God was lifted from his shoulders: it seemed to him that the last burden of responsibility was taken from him; and for the first time he was utterly free. His insignificance was turned to power, and he felt himself suddenly equal with the cruel fate which had seemed to persecute him; for, if life was meaningless, the world was robbed of its cruelty. What he did or left undone did not matter. Failure was unimportant and success amounted to nothing. He was the most inconsiderate creature in that swarming mass of mankind which for a brief space occupied the surface of the earth; and he was almighty because he had wrenched from chaos the secret of its nothingness. Thoughts came tumbling over one another in Philip's eager fancy, and he took long breaths of joyous satisfaction. He felt inclined to leap and sing. He had not been so happy for months.

Those who cannot in any other thing usually starts writing.

Tolerance is only another name for indifference.

We do not even we are grateful to the people who love us. When you do not want them, they just hate us.

What he taught was very simple. He taught that we are all greater than we know and that wisdom is the means to freedom. He taught that it is not essential to salvation to retire from the world, but only to renounce the self. He taught that work done with no selfish interest purifies the mind and that duties are opportunities afforded to man to sink his separate self and become one with the universal self.

When married people don't get on they can separate, but if they're not married it's impossible. It's a tie that only death can sever.

With old and young great sorrow is followed by a sleepless night, and with the old great joy is as disturbing; but you, I suppose, finds happiness more natural and its rest is not disturbed by it.

Yesterday is a canceled check: Forget it. Tomorrow is a promissory note: Don't count on it. Today is ready cash: Use it!

You know, the Philistines have long since discarded the rack and stake as a means of suppressing the opinions they feared: they've discovered a much more deadly weapon of destruction -- the wisecrack.

You're beginning to dislike me, aren't you? Well, dislike me. It doesn't make any difference to me now.

The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.

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.

There is a certain elegance in wasting time. Any fool can waste money, but when you waste time you waste what is priceless.

There's a certain elegance to waste time Ashenden- replied. Any idiot can waste money, but when you spend your own time is pleased to pull something that is priceless.

Those words, though heaven only knew how often she had heard them, still gave her her thrill. They braced her like a tonic. Life acquired significance. She was about to step from the world of make-believe into the world of reality.

Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.

We do not write as we want but as we can.

What I can do is the only limit of what I may do. Because we are gregarious we live in society, and society holds together by means of force, force of arms (that is the policeman) and force of public opinion. You have society on one hand and the individual on the other: each is an organism striving for self-preservation. It is might against might. I stand alone, bound to accept society and not unwilling, since in return for the taxes I pay it protects me, a weakling, against the tyranny of another stronger than I am; but I submit to its laws because I must; I do not acknowledge their justice; I do not know justice, I only know power. And when I have paid for the policeman who protects me and, if I live in a country where conscription is in force, served in the army which guards my house and land from the invader, I am quits with society: for the rest I counter its might with my wiliness. It makes laws for its self-preservation, and if I break them it imprisons or kills me: it has the might to do so and therefore the right. If I break the laws I will accept the vengeance of the state, but I will not regard it as punishment nor shall I feel myself convicted of wrong-doing. Society tempts me to its service by honors and riches and the good opinion of my fellows; but I am indifferent to their opinion, I despise honors and I can do very well without riches.

When one reads, and re-reads, Moby Dick, it seems to me that one gets a more convincing, a more definite, impression of the man than from anything one may learn of his life and circumstances; an impression of a man endowed by nature with a great gift blighted by an evil genius, so that, like the agave, no sooner had it put forth its splendid blooming than it withered; a moody, unhappy man tormented by instincts he shrank from with horror; a man conscious that the virtue had gone out of him, and embittered by failure and poverty; a man of heart craving for friendship, only to find that friendship too was vanity. Such, as I see him, was Herman Melville, a man whom one can only regard with deep compassion.

With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.

Yet magic is no more the art of employing consciously invisible means to produce visible effects. Will, love, and imagination are magic powers that everyone possesses; and whoever knows how to develop them to their fullest extent is a magician. Magic has but one dogma, namely, that the seen is the measure of the unseen.

You know, there are two good things in life, freedom of thought and freedom of action. In France you get freedom of action: you can do what you like and nobody bothers, but you must think like everybody else. In Germany you must do what everybody else does, but you may think as you choose. They're both very good things. I personally prefer freedom of thought. But in England you get neither: you're ground down by convention. You can't think as you like and you can't act as you like. That's because it's a democratic nation. I expect America's worse.

Author Picture
First Name
W. Somerset
Last Name
Maugham, fully William Somerset Maugham
Birth Date
1874
Death Date
1965
Bio

English Playwright, Novelist and Short Story Writer