William Somerset Maugham’s Stylistic Peculiarities

6 June 2017

William Somerset Maugham. Stylistic pecularltles. Maugham became a witty satirist of the post-colonial world and wrote over thirty plays, mainly light satiric comedies. At one time he had four dramas running simultaneously; only Bernard Shaw has had more plays on at the same time in London. The British Library holds many of Maugham’s published plays, and the Library’s Lord Chamberlain’s collection contains a considerable number of typescripts. Though Maugham doesn’t denounce the contemprorary social order, he is critical of the morals and the narrowmindness.

Realistic portrait of life, keen aracter observation and interesting plots coupled with the beautiful expressive language, he has a simple clear unadored style. His stories could be caracterized by great narrative facility, an Ironic point of view, cosmopolitan settingsand an astonishing understanding of human nature. Giving Maugham his due for brilliance of style and a pointed rldlcule of many social vices, such as snobbishness, money- worship, pretence, self-interest, etc. , we realize his cynical attitude to mankind. It Is quite obvious that when describing the corruption of modern society, he Is not indignant but rather amused.

His habitual attitude is that of expecting little or nothing of his fellow men. His ironical cynicism combined with a keen wit and power of observation affords him effective means of portraying English reality without shrinking before its seamy side. Maugham’s style is clear-cut and elegant. The attitude of the novelist to his character seems mostly to be cynically sarcastic. A play upon contrasts and contradictions lies at the basis of Maugham’s sarcastic method in portraying his characters. Credit must be given to Maugham for being extremely resourceful In moulding the portrait.

Maugham’s irony Is bitter. It is rather prominent in the solemn ring of emphatic parallel constructions Into which all the flowery expressions are arranged. A reiteration of the emphatic constructions before homogeneous attributes also sounds mocking enough. Each paragraph In his stories forms a complete unit. Today, Maugham Is probably best known as a short story writer. His clear, lucid and economical style makes easy reading and his short stories have been reprinted frequently in collected editions. Maugham said himself: “l have never pretended to be anything but a story teller.

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