Thursday, 24 October 2013

A Distinguished Author Reading From His Works - W. Somerset Maugham

Vinyl Record of W. Somerset Maugham Reads The Wash Tub and The Happy Couple
W. Somerset Maugham Reads The Wash Tub and The Happy Couple

A Distinguished Author Reading From His Works - "The Wash Tub" and "The Happy Couple"


This post will look at a recording made by the Columbia Records of W. Somerset Maugham reading two of his short stories: "The Wash Tub" (1929) and "The Happy Couple" (1943). The text of these short stories is available on the free ebook - short stories page.

I have uploaded one of the stories, "The Happy Couple," which you can listen to now.



Somerset Maugham Audio Books


This is a vinyl record, most probably made during the 1950s when Maugham started a series of recordings for Columbia Records, after he took lessons with the notorious Lionel Logue, whose treatments with King George VI has been dramatized into The King's Speech (2010). Elsewhere I have quoted some passages from Garson Kanin's Remembering Mr. Maugham about Maugham's recordings and his excitement.

This particular album appears to be a bonus record for members of the Columbia Record Club and was not for sale.

"The Wash Tub" and "The Happy Couple"


There is no registration about the year the reading was recorded; however, according to the booklet for the collection The Spoken Word. Short Stories Volume 2 in which the reading of "The Wash Tub" is included, the date of broadcast is 6 February 1951.

At the moment, the recording of "The Happy Couple" is not available in other collections.

At first, the LP came to my attention in an antiquarian bookshop, which is selling it for US$200. A little more searches got me a copy for less than US$7.00. I have seen another available somewhere else. It does pay off to do a little research of one's own.


SOMERSET MAUGHAM READS THE WASH TUB & THE HAPPY COUPLE- LIMITED EDITION-NOT FOR SALE at Amazon.com (at the moment this is not available, but keep watching, another copy may appear)


5 comments :

  1. Hello, Thanks to you I have an original vinyl record of Maugham reading "The Three Fat Women of Antibes" and "Gigolo and Gigolette" on it's way. I paid $20. There's one more copy left on Amazon U.S. (through a vendor). I also found (through MUCH searching) a copy of the July 1962 issue of Show magazine for "Looking Back" part 2, which has just arrived. I can't find the other parts anywhere.

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    1. Hi Michael, I am very glad! It's a great record, so nice to hear Maugham reading his own stories; I hope you'll enjoy it too.

      It's a bit difficult to get all the Show magazines, but patience pays. They appear from time to time on eBay. It's important to check at least once weekly to see if any surfaces. The second part was in fact the last one I got and I remembered my hands shaking when it finally appeared!

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  2. Hello. Thanks to you, and the information you provide, I have a vinyl copy of Maugham reading "The Three Fat Women of Antibes" and "Gigolo and Gigolette" on its way to me. I paid $20. I also found (through MUCH searching) a copy of the July 1962 issue of Show magazine which I just received for "Looking Back." $40. I can't find the June and August ones anywhere.

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  3. Hi. I have a copy of "The Happy Couple"/"The Wash-Tub" record. I just received it in the mail. I found it on some site I''d never been to for $35. I also found a June copy of Show Magazine for just $12 - there is 1 more available at Amazon. I wouldn't have know about any of this if not for your Blog, so thanks!

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    1. Hi Mike,
      The record sounds like the one I saw.
      Congrats for the Show issue! Glad to be of help.

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