Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Constant Wife” as Want to Read:
The Constant Wife
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Constant Wife

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  142 ratings  ·  16 reviews
There is something Constance Middleton's friends are dying to psst! : her husband is having an affair with her best friend. Despite their hints, Constance remains ever cool, and seemingly oblivious. Or is she? In this comedy of unfaithful manners, Constance (a not-desperate housewife) has surprising ideas of her own about extra-marital activity.
Paperback, 72 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by Samuel French (first published December 31st 1948)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Constant Wife, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Constant Wife

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 290)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Portia S
Oh, how amazing indeed was this play! I loved it to death. It is a play in three acts, where it is discussed between a mother and daughter that their son/brother-in-law, John Middleton, is having an affair, with his wife Constance's best friend, Mary Louise Durham. They are on the verge of divulging this to her, yet she non-nonchalantly dismisses every attempt, apparently leading her no where closer to the truth. However, in the following act, the temptress' own husband discovers the personal ef ...more
Aubrey
Ahhh me. There really is nothing like a good dose of intelligence and sheer wit. Especially concerning a well-crafted revenge served cold. Simply delicious. Constance is the model of all that I admire in a woman; manipulating her vulnerable position in society to its fullest free state, not to mention keeping every inch of her dignity the entire way through. John was finished from the beginning, and only knows at the very end just how deeply he's trapped in the web he himself began. And Marie-Lo ...more
Ivonne Rovira
May 05, 2013 Ivonne Rovira rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Noël Coward's plays
Recommended to Ivonne by: Paul Sawyier Library in Frankfort
I knew about W. Somerset Maugham’s serious novels — The Razor's Edge, The Painted Veil, The Moon and Sixpence, and Of Human Bondage — but I didn’t know he’d written any humorous pieces — nor that he had penned so many plays!

The Constant Wife reminds me of Noël Coward's plays, particularly Blithe Spirit with its surprise ending. In Maugham’s play, a woman with the symbolically bourgeois name of Constance Middleton appears unwitting of her husband’s flagrant affair with Constance’s best friend, Ma
...more
Lauren
A copy of this play was shelved in the incorrect section at my local library, where I stumbled upon it and realized I’ve never read any of Mr. Maugham’s work. I decided the universe was telling me to rectify this literary omission. I know nothing about the man, but I do know I really like this play. It’s a 1920s comedy of manners with an unexpected dash of feminism … and misogyny. I finished it not knowing if I should be cheering or appalled. The play opens with friends and family of Constance M ...more
راهب الفكر
المسرحية العربية بعنوان زوجة لا تنفعل
استطاع سومريست موم أن يظهر الخيانة في حلة مختلفة
ففي مجتمعاتنا الشرقية مثلاً يقولون أنه مجتمع ذكوري يحق فيه للرجل بكل شئ ينافي الأخلاق بينما لا يبيحه للمرأة
استطاعت الزوجة التي لا تنفعل (كونستانس) أن تكشف علاقة زوجها بصديقتها الفاتنة
وبالرغم من كشفها للخيانة إلا أنها صبرت واحتملت بل وأنقذتهما من الموقف أمام زوج صديقتها الثائر في ثبات يحسدها عليه القريب والغريب
واعترفت أمها بأن الرجال علي مختلف الثقافات يريدون تعدد الزوجات
وأدركت أن عليها الاستقلال المادي لأن هذا
...more
Bookworm
Listened to the audiobook. The concept must have been radical when written but not outstanding in the modern era.
Brenda
Dec 17, 2007 Brenda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: theatre peeps
I was unsure whether I had read this play before or not - somehow I kept getting it mixed up with "Lady Windermere's Fan!" I also thought he was the author of "Tales of the City" (this confusion has an explanation - they sit right next to each other on the bookstore shelf).

I enjoy the witty word-play and the strong female characters. The titular character's view of marriage is a tad to harsh for me to accept in whole, but she makes plenty of valid points. There are a few clumsy plot points, but
...more
Paul
A couple of Maugham's novels are among my favorites. There is a focus on a unconventional approach to life that I really like along with what I consider his excellent use of language.

I like the language of the play and particularly enjoyed the first act, but then it almost seems to rely entirely on the unconventionality of Constance's approach to marriage, which I get early on and think is great, but it is not unconventional enough for me in the 21st century to to carry the whole play.
Tressa
The Constant Wife was an enjoyable story and was performed quite well by Kate Burton, Rosalind Ayres, and John de Lancie. I thought it was an insightful examination on the limitations that women had in marriage during that period. But, it was also quite funny and I did relish Constance's benign yet devilish manipulations.
Nancy
Written in 1926, this play is still engaging with clever word plays and dialogue. The dramatized audio version, which features Kate Burton (Richard Burton's daughter) as one of the main players, includes cleverly-timed exchanges, timeless questions to ponder about marriage, and a twist at the end. Highly entertaining!
Judi
Recorded as a theater production. Very witty. Upper class period piece. Takes pointed jabs at philandering husbands through the personage of "The Constant Wife" . . . . appropriately named Constance. Enjoyed listening to this as theater.
Martyn
Nov 29, 2011 Martyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of comic theater
Shelves: fiction, plays, 2011
Very entertaining, I imagine this is how Oscar Wilde's writing would have ended up sounding had he lived another thirty years. A little less refined than Wilde but a little more contemporary in humor, obviously.
Janice
This story is in the style of Oscar Wilde, intelligent and witty. A very quick read with lots of laughs. I listened to it as a play on two CD's and found it most pleasurable.
Ashley
Constance is a savvy lady! Some of the lines in this play were perfectly timed, and I would have loved to have seen them delivered. Smart.
Alicia
The audiobook version was entertaining. I recommend it for those looking for a lighthearted book. I cleaned the house while listening to it.
Holly
Short but funny. What a great tongue-in-cheek look at affairs within marriage.
Rachel
Rachel marked it as to-read
Dec 12, 2014
Christina
Christina marked it as to-read
Nov 05, 2014
Tara
Tara marked it as to-read
Nov 05, 2014
Heather
Heather marked it as to-read
Nov 04, 2014
Jen Bingham
Jen Bingham marked it as to-read
Oct 24, 2014
Lusine
Lusine marked it as to-read
Oct 13, 2014
Julie
Julie marked it as to-read
Oct 10, 2014
Fatematuz
Fatematuz marked it as to-read
Oct 07, 2014
Koen Kop
Koen Kop marked it as to-read
Oct 01, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Alice James
  • The Leather Daddy and the Femme
  • Defiance
  • Venus in Fur
  • 500 Great Books By Women
  • Rat Bohemia
  • Janet Frame: An Autobiography
  • Novel Without a Name
  • Red
  • Pitch Dark
  • The Ice-Shirt
  • Public Sex: The Culture of Radical Sex
  • Orpheus Descending
  • Beebo Brinker
  • On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose, 1966-1978
  • DN Broadway Bound
  • Autobahn
  • Mountain Language
4176632
William Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He spoke French even before he spoke a word of English, a fact to which some critics attribute the purity of his style.

His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in 'Of Human Bondage' , Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he alm
...more
More about W. Somerset Maugham...
Of Human Bondage The Razor's Edge The Painted Veil The Moon and Sixpence Theatre

Share This Book

“They’re like little boys, men. Sometimes of course they’re rather naughty and you have to pretend to be angry with them. They attach so much importance to such entirely unimportant things that it’s really touching. And they’re so helpless. Have you never nursed a man when he’s ill? It wrings your heart. It’s just like a dog or a horse. They haven’t got the sense to come in out of the rain, poor darlings. They have all the charming qualities that accompany general incompetence. They’re sweet and good and silly, and tiresome and selfish. You can’t help liking them, they’re so ingenuous, and so simple. They have no complexity or finesse. I think they’re sweet, but it’s absurd to take them seriously.” 5 likes
“Oh, my dear, you musn’t be offended just because I’ve taken away from you the satisfaction of thinking that you have been deceiving me all these months.” 3 likes
More quotes…