Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Maugham, W Somerset

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(1874-1965) UK writer, best-known for Of Human Bondage (1915), a rather grim Bildungsroman, partially autobiographical. "The Choice of Amyntas", which appears in Orientations (coll 1899), is a long Fable whose 18th-century protagonist, cast out of England to make his living, finds a magic Underground palace occupied by four allegorical maidens, each representing a life-choice. He selects Love: disappointed, War, Riches and Art return to the surface, where they significantly shape the 19th century. The Magician (1908) presents a savage portrait of an easily recognized Aleister Crowley as Oliver Haddo, a student of Occultism who forces a young woman to marry him by casting a Glamour upon her, and who eventually sacrifices her in order to create a Homunculus. There are some Supernatural Fictions in Cosmopolitans: Very Short Stories (coll 1936) and The Mixture As Before (coll 1940). [JC]

William Somerset Maugham


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.