Somerset Maugham, A Genius of Present Century English Literature

Literary Somerset Maugham

The discussion about present century English literature remains incomplete without Somerset Maugham. As an eminent short-story writer, novelist, and playwright, Maugham always appeared as an indisputable genius. His words exhibit his inexhaustible creativity. His creative urge with brilliancy can be visible in story contents and writing styles.

The famous short story The Lotus Eater is a true example of his mastery of English literature. The content of the said impressive short story uncovers the literary genius of Somerset Maugham in more ways than one. The theme of the story is undoubtedly somewhat unconventional.

Maugham’s stories unlock fascinating yet nothing theatrically thrilling writing style with lucid and straightforward expression through accurate words. Most of his novels and short stories contain average characters and simple facts. A blend of self-experience and excellent thought process reveals his perfection in presenting an attractive tale. Maugham’s magnificent technique as a story-teller shows how to establish an incident into a beautiful fact.

In The Lotus Eaters, we can quickly discover that Somerset Maugham’s mastery possesses a good inventive power. This promising ability shows how some commonplace characters and simple incidents can make a beautiful story.

Most of the eminent writers in present century English literature are famous for sketching extraordinary characters. However, in The Lotus Eater, Maugham describes the story of a pretty commonplace fellow. And, this character constructs a beautiful story with his zest for a smooth life. The best part is the said zest is somewhat strange but curious to the readers.

Somerset Maugham is probably the first short story writer of the present century English literature with an extraordinary character drawing skill. He can draw a commonplace character attractively and fascinatingly. His mastery in drawing a character becomes a good choice of much interest. Maugham shows in his writings how he exploits certain situations to build a compelling plot of massive human interest.

Most of his creations involve a simple narrative method. Readers can’t find any abstruse or abstract matter in his writings. As part of his brilliancy in expression, he prefers to state everything clearly. And it is one big reason why his stories always prove effortlessly appealing.

In his The Lotus Eater, Maugham narrates the story lucidly. He depicts the whole plot in such a unique way that it seems he is narrating an actual incident. Somerset Maugham narrates how the main character of the said story, Thomas Wilson, chooses to quit his job and leave the financial security to spend the rest of his life in the lap of nature. And, he takes this decision only to enjoy absolute pleasure and leisure alone. It is undoubtedly true that it is the embodiment of brevity in the narrative technique. In a word, the impact of singleness in a person like Wilson leaves a signature mark of an excellent short story. Some say that the way Somerset Maugham narrates the story testifies his unique skill as a bold author of a beautiful short story.

Trenchant observation is another signature style of Somerset Maugham. His narrative writing style doesn’t appear as merely precise and plain only. Sometimes he is very much pointed as per the plot requirement. In The Lotus Eaters, Maugham pointed out how many ordinary people have no choice but to lead the life circumstances usually thrust upon them. As the narrator Maugham compares ordinary people’s lives with the tram-cars that travel “forever on the selfsame rails.” Moreover, these cars play the same roles until they become inactive and “sold as scrap iron.” In a word, the author has pointed out the helplessness of most people who have no choice but to surrender to the situations in which they are left.

The most appealing expression, blend with significant irony, constitutes the spice of an extraordinary literary style in Maugham’s writing. Also, this literary style brings a conversational tone to his prose. His words are so conversational that readers perceive it as if Maugham himself is speaking.

Maugham’s writing bears a spontaneous solid appeal. Readers identify it as uniquely flexible and apt with an impressive touch of mastery. The narrative technique and originality in the content selection made the writings of Somerset Maugham so remarkable.        

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