The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.
She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, "The Creative Impulse", Collected Short Stories
Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, The Partial View
She had a very agreeable smile; it did not light up her face suddenly, but seemed rather to suffuse it by degrees with charm. It hesitated for a moment about her lips and then slowly travelled to those great shining eyes of hers and there softly lingered.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, "The Promise", Collected Short Stories
I held my breath, for to me there is nothing more awe-inspiring than when a man discovers to you the nakedness of his soul.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, "The Pool", Collected Short Stories
There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, attributed, Literary Agents: How to Get & Work with the Right One for You
Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, Cakes and Ale
I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, The Painted Veil
But though he did everything to alienate the sympathy of other boys he longed with all his heart for the popularity which to some was so easily accorded. These from his distance he admired extravagantly; and though he was inclined to be more sarcastic with them than with others, though he made little jokes at their expense, he would have given anything to change places with them.
W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM, Of Human Bondage
Her lips were like living fire. He could not take his own away. He forgot everything.