Mrs Craddock (Penguin Classics)

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9780143105121: Mrs Craddock (Penguin Classics)

“There is something bracing about the sincerity of [Maugham's] style . . . a style that serves his general purpose of stripping life to the bone with a thin, sharp knife that lays open to view the normal flesh and the healthy flow of blood as well as the cancerous sore beneath.” —Leslie A. Marchand, The New York Times

Edward Craddock is a thoroughly good man. He may lack his wife Bertha’s education, but he is unfailingly good-humored, handsome, placid, and popular. It is hardly surprising that Bertha adores him. But expending all one’s passion, all one’s spirit, on a man who is so undemonstrative, so unimaginative, can be very trying, as Bertha soon discovers.
 
In this penetrating study of an unequal marriage, W. Somerset Maugham explores the nature of love and happiness and finds that the two rarely coincide.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

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From the Inside Flap:

A young woman, carried away by passion, sees a chance to escape a dull life and to experience true love. But she discovers that little in her marriage to the dutiful and sensible Edward meets her expectations. And as passion dies, she finds herself trapped in a loveless, oppressive marriage.

About the Author:

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He afterwards walked the wards of St. Thomas's Hospital with a view to practice in medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), won him over to letters. Something of his hospital experience is reflected, however, in the first of his masterpieces, Of Human Bondage (1915), and with The Moon and Sixpence (1919) his reputation as a novelist was assured.

His position as one of the most successful playwrights on the London stage was being consolidated simultaneously. His first play, A Man of Honour (1903), was followed by a procession of successes just before and after the First World War. (At one point only Bernard Shaw had more plays running at the same time in London.) His theatre career ended with Sheppey (1933). His fame as a short-story writer began with The Trembling of a Leaf, sub-titled Little Stories of the South Sea Islands, in 1921, after which he published more than ten collections.

W. Somerset Maugham's general books are fewer in number. They include travel books, such as On a Chinese Screen (1922) and Don Fernando (1935), essays, criticism, and the self-revealing The Summing Up (1938) and A Writer's Notebook (1949). He became a Companion of Honour in 1954.

Robert Calder is professor of English at the University of Saskatchewan.

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