SOMERSET MAUGHAM FIRST EDITIONS – ASH RARE BOOKS
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FIRST EDITIONS OF W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM
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MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : THE MOON AND SIXPENCE : A NOVEL.
London : William Heinemann, 1919. First edition : with the integral advertisements announcing Heinemann’s new novels for 1919. Renegade stockbroker turned artist in London, Paris and Tahiti – Maugham’s celebrated Gauguinesque tale.
MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : THE PAINTED VEIL.
New York : George H. Doran Co., (1925). First edition. Published a month earlier than the London edition and retaining a textual integrity which the British publication did not – two separate libel actions having necessitated changes in the names of characters in the latter, as well as the substitution of the fictional place-names of Tching-Yen, Pleasant Vale, and The Mount, for the real places of Hong Kong, Happy Valley, and The Peak. “Like many other of Mr. Maugham’s stories, the scene of his latest – and best – book is laid ‘East of Suez’. The theme, a loveless marriage and its disastrous aftermath, though old as the hills, is invested with modernity and freshness by means of a photographic realism” (Nottingham Journal, 21st May 1925). Filmed in 1934 (Greta Garbo), and in 2006 (Naomi Watts).
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MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : THE CASUARINA TREE : SIX STORIES.
London : William Heinemann, (1926). First edition. Six short stories set in the Far East – “Before the Party”, “P. & O.”, “The Outstation”, “The Force of Circumstance”, “The Yellow Streak”, and “The Letter”, together with an introduction and a postscript. One of Maugham’s finest collections, notable in particular for “The Letter”, adapted for the stage by Maugham himself and the basis of the famous Academy Award winning William Wyler 1940 film, starring Bette Davis.
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MAUGHAM, W. Somerset (William Somerset), 1874-1965 : ASHENDEN : OR THE BRITISH AGENT.
London : William Heinemann, 1928. First edition. Clearly based on Maugham’s own experiences working for British Intelligence during World War I and very much the prototype of the modern espionage novel. It is alleged that Churchill himself urged Maugham to burn a number of further stories originally intended for the book. Turned into a TV series in 1991, with Alex Jennings, Joss Ackland, Ian Bannen, Jason Isaacs, etc.
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