Samuel J. Rogal
Through his voluminous writings, W. Somerset Maugham recreated the age in which he lived. The characters in his fiction and drama accurately reflect English society from the end of the Victorian era through the early years of World War II. There exists little doubt that the strength of Maugham's works stems from his rich characterisations. When he peopled his imaginary worlds, he based his characters on real persons whom he observed and analysed, both from a respectable distance and a not always respectable intimacy; then he recast them upon the page and the stage. This reference sets down in alphabetical order each character included in Maugham's stories, novels and plays. Included are imaginary, historical, human, animal, named, unnamed, living and dead characters from all of his works. Each entry indicates the work in which the character appears and provides a description of the character in relation to the work as a whole. As far as possible, the descriptions capture the substance and tone of Maugham's own words.
An introductory essay discusses the importance of Maugham's characters to his literary art, while a bibliography lists editions consulted and secondary sources of additional information.