Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Bibliography of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham




Stott, Raymond Toole. A Bibliography of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham. London: Kaye & Ward, 1973.

This is basically a bibliography of the the editions of the books published by Maugham up to 1973. It was first published as Maughamiana a Bibliography of the Works of W. Somerset Maugham (1950). Due to the nature of bibliography, it is better to get the latest edition. For this version, there is an earlier one in 1956, but this latter issue (1973) is much more complete. It is definitely very useful for scholars and collectors alike.

The book is divided into several sections, with detailed information, description and on occasions interesting circumstances, on Maugham's first editions. Category B lists the subsequent collected editions, C consists of "Books and Pamphlets edited, or with contributions by W. Somerset Maugham", D of "Contributions by W. Somserset Maugham to periodicals", E of "Plays novelised or books dramatised by others", F of "Check list of works concerning W. Somerset Maugham", G of "Check list of periodicals concerning W. Somerset Maugham", and lastly, H with Appendices.

The index provides easy searches for individual stories' and/or books' history of publication. One shortcoming is its errors, which are nuisance at times but without big consequence. I have noted a few, but, unfortunately, forgot to mark them. Another blemish is by no means inherent in the work itself, which is the fact that the bibliography records only up to 1973. Nevertheless, in my search for Maugham's editions, I have come across obscure editions published before 1973 that do not appear in Stott's catalogue, with different colour binding and publishers.

In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book for those who are interested in Maugham's early editions. It provides a mine of information which otherwise would have been very time consuming to collect and verify, and a base for further research. The price is highly affordable, that one can get a used copy for under US$20, and there are other editions published by different publishers, other than the one listed here.

5 comments :

  1. I don't know if you're aware of it, but you might possibly find this attempt for a critical examination of Mr Stott's work useful:

    http://www.librarything.com/topic/137240

    Feel free to disagree with the opinions or point out mistakes.

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    Replies
    1. Hello Alexander,
      Thank you for the link and all the bibliographical search!

      I have noticed wrong cross references, typos, etc. I have attempted to fill in some magazine stories not registered on my short stories page , but I only looked at the stories that are available online and those that I stumbled upon. I will check with your list and update accordingly.

      In many of the first editions I find more typos than the specific ones mentioned by Stott, but I assume the ones he points out are only those corrected in later issues.

      Your critical examination adds a very helpful tool.

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    2. Oh, and some time ago I found listed in archive.org a story attributed to Maugham called "The Body Snatcher" that got me all excited. I thought he wrote something more along the line of The Magician. Hard to imagine him writing about body snatchers though. Anyway, it turns out to be Robert Louis Stevenson's story retold by Kieran McGovern!

      And the Liza in gutenberg, which appears to be a Penguin edition, lists it as first published by William Heinemann in 1897...

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    3. This is an impressive error about "Liza"! Hard to imagine how careless even eminent publishers sometimes are. An early version of "A Man from Glasgow" turned up relatively recently, so there is a good chance that some macabre ghost stories by Maugham, maybe even some about bodysnatching, still lay buried in the archives. I think I should like to read Stevenson's story. Sometime ago, in an Ellery Queen anthology of crime stories by famous authors, I run across "Markheim" and was mightily impressed (and mightily scared).

      It is my idea, more like a dream actually, to post on the blog something like a greatly expanded, corrected and up-to-date ToC of Mr Stott's bibliography, both as a tribute to his industry and as a reliable reference to anything Maugham ever wrote. Heaven knows when it will happen and whether or not it will be useful. The LT thread was supposed to be the prelude to this (still imaginary) bibliography. In any case, any feedback is always appreciated.

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    4. I haven't read "Markheim." I am going to look for it now. I like weird and ghost stories a lot. Recently I discover Doyle's non-Sherlock Holmes stories and like them a lot. I have only read a few Sherlock Holmes before. I read somewhere that in fact Doyle had a higher opinion of his non-Sherlock works. He has a collection The Captain of the Polestar and Other Tales, which is excellent.

      That would be great! Do follow your dream! It would be so helpful for people interested in Maugham. I for one will vouch for it! There are so many archives coming out in Google it would be great to be able to unbury forgotten stuff.

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