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W. Somerset Maugham quotes (showing 1-30 of 1,156)

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Books and You
“The great tragedy of life is not that men perish, but that they cease to love.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“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 Maugham, The Painted Veil
“Impropriety is the soul of wit.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence
“As lovers, the difference between men and women is that women can love all day long, but men only at times.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence
“He did not care if she was heartless, vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasping, he loved her. He would rather have misery with one than happiness with the other.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
“It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched for they are full of the truthless ideal which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real, they are bruised and wounded. It looks as if they were victims of a conspiracy; for the books they read, ideal by the necessity of selection, and the conversation of their elders, who look back upon the past through a rosy haze of forgetfulness, prepare them for an unreal life. They must discover for themselves that all they have read and all they have been told are lies, lies, lies; and each discovery is another nail driven into the body on the cross of life.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
“If a man hasn't what's necessary to make a woman love him, it's his fault, not hers.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
“When you choose your friends, don't be short-changed by choosing personality over character.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The 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
“She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“The only important thing in a book is the meaning that it has for you.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
“Oh, it's always the same,' she sighed, 'if you want men to behave well to you, you must be beastly to them; if you treat them decently they make you suffer for it.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
tags: love, men
“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.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
“People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
“It’s a very funny thing about life; if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”
W. Somerset Maugham
“I know that you're selfish, selfish beyond words, and I know that you haven't the nerve of a rabbit, I know you're a liar and a humbug, I know that you're utterly contemptible. And the tragic part is'--her face was on a sudden distraught with pain--'the tragic part is that notwithstanding I love you with all my heart.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
“One can be very much in love with a woman without wishing to spend the rest of one's life with her.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
“Some of us look for the Way in opium and some in God, some of us in whiskey and some in love. It is all the same Way and it leads nowhither.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Painted Veil
“It was one of the queer things of life that you saw a person every day for months and were so intimate with him that you could not imagine existence without him; then separation came, and everything went on in the same way, and the companion who had seemed essential proved unnecessary.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
“You're beginning to dislike me, aren't you? Well, dislike me. It doesn't make any difference to me now.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Razor's Edge
“There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
“Only a mediocre person is always at his best. ”
W. Somerset Maugham
“You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognize the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life -- their pleasure.”
W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
“When a woman loves you she's not satisfied until she possesses your soul. Because she's weak, she has a rage for domination, and nothing less will satisfy her.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence
“The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned”
W. Somerset Maugham
“It is one of the defects of my character that I cannot altogether dislike anyone who makes me laugh.”
W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

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