Maugham, Robin

Maugham, Robin

▪ British author
byname of  Robert Cecil Romer Maugham, 2nd Viscount Maugham of Hartfield 
born May 17, 1916, London, Eng.
died March 13, 1981, Brighton

      English novelist, playwright, and travel writer, who achieved some fame and no little notoriety with his first novel, The Servant (1948).

      The only son of the 1st Viscount, Lord Chancellor Herbert Romer Maugham (whom he succeeded in 1958), Robin Maugham was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He served as an intelligence officer in World War II but was severely wounded in 1944 and retired from active service. Two nonfiction books based on his war experiences are Come to Dust (1945) and Nomad (1947).

      The Servant, though denounced as obscene by Maugham's father, who demanded that publication be halted, convinced Robin's uncle, W. Somerset Maugham, of his nephew's literary ability. The novel became very popular, and it was filmed in 1965. Much of Maugham's work is about homosexuals: a play, Enemy (1970), which brings a British and a German soldier into confrontation alone in the desert, charts their doomed friendship; and The Last Encounter (1972), which portrays Charles George (“Chinese”) Gordon of Khartoum as a man as unsure of his destiny as of his sexual orientation.

      Maugham wrote several memoirs, including Somerset and all the Maughams (1966) and Conversations with Willie: Recollections of W. Somerset Maugham (1978). His autobiographies include Escape from the Shadows (1972) and Search for Nirvana (1975).

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