Creatures of Circumstancebegins with an explanation from the author telling how this collection came about. He states that he "has never pretended to be anything but a story teller. It has amused me to tell stories and I have told a great many. It is a misfortune for me that the telling of a story just for the sake of the story is not an activity that is in favor with the intelligentsia. I endeavor to bear my misfortunes with fortitude."
The short stories in this extraordinary collection—with the exception of one—were written after the close of World War I. Maugham shrewdly and brilliantly exploited the public taste of his time to put on display the changing morality of the twentieth century. An expert storyteller, he was also a master of fictional technique.
His fiction offers a synthesis of pleasures in the form of realism, exoticism, shrewd and ironic observation, careful craftsmanship, and characteriation. Among the stories included in Creatures of Circumstance are "The Colonel’s Lady," "Flotsam and Jetsam," "Sanatorium," "Appearance and Reality," "The Point of Honor," "A Woman of Fifty," "The Man from Glasgow," and "The Kite."
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was an English novelist and playwright. Maugham was famous as a dramatist before he was known for his novels and short stories. His clarity of style, the perfection of his form, the subtlety of his thought, veiled thinly behind a worldly cynicism made him an international figure. Among his novels are Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, and The Raor's Edge.
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