Category Archives: Writing

Some great W. Somerset Maugham quotes (or excerpts from books) from Goodreads

I have just finished reading ‘The Moon & Sixpence’ by W. Somerset Maugham which I enjoyed immensely.  I loved his style of writing and his insights into the different worlds of men and women.  The book is based on the life of Paul Gaugain, but the main character is an English stockbroker who abandons his wife and children to follow his passion – painting.   Here are some of his brilliant quotes.

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.”

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”

“How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.”
― W. Somerset MaughamThe Painted Veil

“Each one of us is alone in the world. He is shut in a tower of brass, and can communicate with his fellows only by signs, and the signs have no common value, so that their sense is vague and uncertain. We seek pitifully to convey to others the treasures of our heart, but they have not the power to accept them, and so we go lonely, side by side but not together, unable to know our fellows and unknown by them. We are like people living in a country whose language they know so little that, with all manner of beautiful and profound things to say, they are condemned to the banalities of the conversation manual. Their brain is seething with ideas, and they can only tell you that the umbrella of the gardener’s aunt is in the house.”
― W. Somerset MaughamThe Moon And Sixpence

“Sometimes people carry to such perfection the mask they have assumed that in due course they actually become the person they seem.”
― W. Somerset MaughamThe Moon and Sixpence

“If nobody spoke unless he had something to say, the human race would very soon lose the use of speech.”
― W. Somerset MaughamThe Painted Veil

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

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

If 50 million people say something foolish, it is still foolish.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

“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.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

What do we any of us have but our illusions? And what do we ask of others but that we be allowed to keep them?”
― W. Somerset Maugham

“She had no mercy. He looked at her neck and thought how he would like to jab it with the knife he had for his muffin. He knew enough anatomy to make pretty certain of getting the carotid artery. And at the same time he wanted to cover her pale, thin face with kisses.”
― W. Somerset MaughamOf Human Bondage

“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.”


Portrait of William Somerset Maugham
Portrait of William Somerset Maugham (Photo credit: Wikipedia)