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Program in British Studies

'Somerset Maugham: A Life Under Cover'

Selina Hastings, London

Fri, March 5, 2010

3:00 PM

For nearly sixty years Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was the most famous English writer in the world.  The author of Of Human Bondage (1915) and The Razor's Edge (1944), Maugham for half a century was constantly photographed, filmed, and interviewed.  Yet his personal life was largely kept hidden.  Although married, he was predominantly homosexual in an age when homosexual practice in Britain was against the law.  By the time of his death his reputation as a literary figure had already declined spectacularly but his novels are still read throughout the world because of their spell-binding stories.

After a happy student life at St. Hugh's College, Oxford, Selina Hastings worked as assistant literary editor at the Daily Telegraph (1968-1982) and then as literary editor of Harpers & Queen (1987-1995).  She is the author of four biographies, Nancy Mitford (1985), Evelyn Waugh (1994), Rosamond Lehmann (2002), and The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham (2009), and for children she has retold a number of classics, among them The Canterbury Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and The Bible.

'You can listen to previous recordings of the British Studies Lecture Series at'

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