W. Somerset Maugham Bibliography - Short Stories

Short Stories

Short Story Collections

1. Orientations (1899), 6 pieces.
2. The Trembling of a Leaf (1921), 6 pieces
3. The Casuarina Tree (1926), 6 pieces.
4. Ashenden (1928), 6 pieces.
5. First Person Singular (1931), 6 pieces.
6. Ah King (1933), 6 pieces.
7. Cosmopolitans (1936), 29 pieces.
8. The Mixture as Before (1940), 10 pieces.
9. Creatures of Circumstance (1947), 15 pieces.


The original volume Ashenden (1928) actually contained 16 chapters; 15 of them were later merged into six long short stories; one was omitted.

Short Stories in Travel Books

In addition, there are seven short stories which actually made their first appearances in book form as parts of Maugham's travel books. They are as follows:

On a Chinese Screen (1922)
1. The Consul
2. The Taipan

The Gentleman in the Parlour (1930)
1. Mabel (Chapter VI)
2. Masterson (Chapter X)
3. Princess September (Chapter XXXII)
4. A Marriage of Convenience (Chapter XXXIV)
5. Mirage (Chapter XLIII)


The titles given above are those used in Maugham's collections of short stories.

Princess September was first published as he Princess and the Nightingale in Queen's Dolls' House Library (1924). In 1939 it appeared as a pamphlet under the same title as well.

A Marriage of Convenience is a rewritten version of the early short story with the same name that is reprinted in Seventeen Lost Stories (1969, see below).

In magazines Masterson, Mabel and Princess September were published as On the Road to Mandalay (1929), The Woman Who Wouldn't Take a Hint (1924) and The Princess and the Nightingale (1922), respectively. Mirage appeared in under the same title (1929).

Mirage, Princess September and A Marriage of Convenience also appeared as The Opium Addict, September's Bird and The French Governor, respectively, in a volume titled The Maugham Reader (1950, Doubleday, with an Introduction by Glenway Wescott).

Collected Editions of Maugham's Short Stories

There are three major, multi-volume collections of Maugham's short stories. Each one of these exactly the same 91 pieces: 84 from all collections save Orientations (1899) and the 7 pieces from the travel books just mentioned above. The editions are:

The Complete Short Stories. Heinemann, 1951, 3 vols.

The Complete Short Stories. Doubleday, 1952, 2 vols., First American Edition.
Vol. 1: East and West (1934).
Vol. 2: The World Over (1952).

The Collected Short Stories. Penguin, 1963, 4 vols. Reprinted later by Pan, Mandarin, Vintage.

The Heinemann edition is considered to be definitive. The stories are arranged in order chosen by Maugham himself and he wrote a new preface to each volume in 1951. The edition in four volumes titled The Collected Short Stories is virtually identical with the Heinemann's. Few slight changes in the order and in the prefaces were made to accommodate one volume more. Otherwise the two editions are identical, save for the word 'complete' being substituted with 'collected'.

The First American Edition is quite another matter. The stories are the same and the order is again chosen by Maugham himself, but the prefaces are very different indeed. The First volume - East and West - was first published in 1934 and contains a 26 pp. preface which is one of Maugham's most important contributions to the theory of the art of writing short stories. It contains 30 pieces, in other words: all collections published between 1921 and 1933. The Second volume - The World Over - was first published in 1952. It too contains new preface that has nothing to do with Heinemann's edition.

Short Stories in Posthumously Published Volumes

Notorious for his scathing self-criticism towards his early works, Maugham never allowed the short stories he wrote before the First World War to be reprinted during his lifetime. After his death his decision was overruled.

Seventeen Lost Stories. Doubleday, 1969. Edited by Craig Showalter.


1. A Bad Example (1899)
2. Daisy (1899)
3. De Amicitia (1899)
4. Faith (1899)
5. The Choice of Amyntas (1899)
6. The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian (1899)
7. Lady Habart (1900)
8. Cupid and the Vicar of Swale (1900)
9. Pro Patria (1903)
10. A Point of Law (1903)
11. An Irish Gentleman (1904)
12. A Marriage of Convenience (1906)
13. Flirtation (1906, written in 1904)
14. The Fortunate Painter (1908)
15. Good Manners (1907)
16. Cousin Amy (1908)
17. The Happy Couple (1908)


The volume contains 17 early short stories first published between 1899 and 1908, including the six from Orientations (1899). None of the other 11 had ever appeared in book form before but they were all published in magazines between 1900 and 1908.

A Marriage of Convenience was later significantly rewritten and published as part of the travel book The Gentleman in the Parlour (1930).

Cousin Amy was later significantly rewritten and published under the title The Luncheon in the short story collection Cosmopolitans (1936).

The Happy Couple was later significantly rewritten and published under the same name in the short story collection Creatures of Circumstance (1947).

Traveller in Romance. Clarkson N. Potter, 1984. Edited by John Whitehead.

Contains the following short stories:

1. The Spanish Priest, Illustrated London News (1906)
2. The Making of Millionaire, Lady's Realm (1906)
3. A Traveller in Romance, Printer's Pie Annual (1909)
4. The Buried Talent, Nash's Magazine (1934)


The volume contains 65 short pieces spanning 63 years of Maugham's life never published before in any of his books, including, among many other pieces, four short stories:

The Buried Talent can also be found in the collection Far Eastern Tales (Mandarin, Vintage), selected by John Whitehead.

Uncollected Stories

1. A Really Nice Story: A Short Tale, Black & White, Nov. 30, 1901, pp. 768–769.

2. The Image of the Virgin: A Short Story, Black & White, Dec. 14, 1901, pp. 840–842

3. The Criminal, Lloyd's Weekly News, July 31, 1904, p. 14.

Total Number of Somerset Maugham's Short Stories

Maugham wrote more than 115 short stories which can be distributed thus:

The Complete Short Stories (1951) - 91 short stories (84 pieces from all collections but Orientations plus 7 pieces from the travel books);

Seventeen Lost Stories (1969) - 17 short stories (all from Orientations plus 11 magazine pieces);

Traveller in Romance (1984) - 4 short stories (miscellaneous pieces from magazines that had never before been published in book form).

To these 112 pieces another 3 should be added. The latter have come to light only recently and have never been collected in book form, although all of them appeared in periodicals between 1901 and 1904.

Two more notes should be made in order to explain why the list below contains only 113 stories (110 numbered plus the 3 uncollected ones added in between).

The total number of Maugham's short stories may be considered, wrongly, to be 109 since there are three short stories in his oeuvre - A Marriage of Convenience, Cousin Amy/The Luncheon and The Happy Couple - which exist in two very different versions: early one included in Seventeen Lost Stories (1969) and significantly rewritten later one included in The Complete Short Stories (1951). As obvious from the titles, in two of the cases both versions have the same title and thus appear in the list below as one short story, though there in fact two different stories with that name, as made clear by the information in the brackets. In the case of Cousin Amy/The Luncheon, both titles are given separately of course.

There is one and only one case when Maugham was sufficiently satisfied with an early story as to revise it only very slightly for later publication. This is the The Mother which published in Story-Teller in 1909. Almost forty years later Maugham revised the story but slightly for inclusion in his last collection of short stories, Creatures of Circumstance (1947). In this case the revisions are very minor and two versions are sufficiently close as to be considered as one short story. The early version is extremely rare and has been published only once in book form: The Cassell Miscellany (1958).

What follows is a complete list of all Somerset Maugham's short stories ever published; the final and most well-known titles are given. In square brackets: the year of first publication - usually, but not always, in a magazine - and the alternative title, if any. If the story has never been published in magazine, the first appearance in book form is given, including the title of the volume.

  • 1. A Bad Example
  • 2. A Casual Affair
  • 3. A Friend in Need
  • 4. A Man from Glasgow
  • 5. A Man with a Conscience
  • 6. A Marriage of Convenience
  • 7. A Point of Law
  • 7a. A Really Nice Story
  • 8. A String of Beads
  • 9. A Traveller in Romance
  • 10. A Woman of Fifty
  • 11. An Irish Gentleman
  • 12. An Official Position
  • 13. Appearance and Reality
  • 14. Before the Party
  • 15. Cousin Amy (1908, early version of The Luncheon)
  • 16. Cupid and The Vicar of Swale (1900)
  • 17. Daisy
  • 18. De Amicitia
  • 19. Episode
  • 20. Faith
  • 21. Flirtation (1906)
  • 22. Flotsam and Jetsam
  • 23. Footprints in the Jungle
  • 24. French Joe
  • 25. German Harry
  • 26. Gigolo and Gigolette
  • 27. Giulia Lazzari
  • 28. Good Manners (1907)
  • 29. His Excellency
  • 30. Home
  • 31. Honolulu
  • 32. In a Strange Land
  • 33. Jane
  • 34. Lady Habart (1900)
  • 35. Lord Mountdrago
  • 36. Louise
  • 37. Mabel
  • 38. Mackintosh
  • 39. Masterson
  • 40. Mayhew
  • 41. Mirage
  • 42. Miss King
  • 43. Mr Harrington’s Washing
  • 44. Mr Know-All
  • 45. Neil MacAdam
  • 46. P & O
  • 47. Princess September
  • 48. Pro Patria
  • 49. Rain
  • 50. Raw Material
  • 51. Red
  • 52. Salvatore
  • 53. Sanatorium
  • 54. Straight Flush
  • 55. The Alien Corn
  • 56. The Ant and the Grasshopper
  • 57. The Back of Beyond
  • 58. The Book Bag
  • 59. The Bum
  • 60. The Buried Talent
  • 61. The Choice of Amyntas
  • 62. The Closed Shop
  • 63. The Colonel’s Lady
  • 64. The Consul
  • 65. The Creative Impulse
  • 65a. The Criminal
  • 66. The Door of Opportunity
  • 67. The Dream
  • 68. The End of the Flight
  • 69. The Escape
  • 70. The Facts of Life
  • 71. The Fall of Edward Barnard
  • 72. The Force of Circumstance
  • 73. The Fortunate Painter
  • 74. The Four Dutchmen
  • 75. The Hairless Mexican
  • 76. The Happy Couple
  • 77. The Happy Man
  • 78. The Human Element
  • 78a. The Image of the Virgin
  • 79. The Judgement Seat
  • 80. The Kite
  • 81. The Letter
  • 82. The Lion’s Skin
  • 83. The Lotus Eater
  • 84. The Luncheon
  • 85. The Making of a Millionaire
  • 86. The Man with the Scar
  • 87. The Mother
  • 88. The Outstation
  • 89. The Poet
  • 90. The Point of Honour
  • 91. The Pool
  • 92. The Portrait of a Gentleman
  • 93. The Promise
  • 94. The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian
  • 95. The Romantic Young Lady
  • 96. The Round Dozen
  • 97. The Social Sense
  • 98. The Spanish Priest
  • 99. The Taipan
  • 100. The Three Fat Women of Antibes
  • 101. The Traitor
  • 102. The Treasure
  • 103. The Unconquered
  • 104. The Verger
  • 105. The Vessel of Wrath
  • 106. The Voice of the Turtle
  • 107. The Wash-Tub
  • 108. The Yellow Streak
  • 109. Virtue
  • 110. Winter Cruise

For those who want to know more about Maugham's short stories, a brief bibliography of the separate volumes follows:


1. Orientations. 6 Short Stories.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • A Bad Example
  • Daisy
  • De Amicitia
  • Faith
  • The Choice of Amyntas
  • The Punctiliousness of Don Sebastian


  • Don Sebastian is Maugham's first published short story ever.
  • All six stories are reprinted in Seventeen Lost Stories, ed. Craig Showalter (1968).

2. The Trembling of a Leaf. Little Stories from the South Sea Islands. six short stories together with two short pieces as an introduction and an epilogue.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • George H. Doran, 1921. First Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1921. First English Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1935. The Collected Edition. New 4pp Preface.
  • Heron, 1968. Contains the 1935 Preface.
  • I. The Pacific
  • II. Mackintosh
  • III. The Fall of Edward Barnard
  • IV. Red
  • V. The Pool
  • VI. Honolulu
  • VII. Rain
  • VIII. Envoi

3. The Casuarina Tree. 6 short stories. Original preface The Casuarina Tree and Postscript.

Short Publication History and Contetns

  • Heinemann, 1926. First Edition.
  • George H. Doran, 1926. First American Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1935. The Collected Edition. The Original Preface. Reprinted in 1953.

The Casuarina Tree
The Letter
Before the Party
P. & O.
The Outstation
The Force of Circumstance
The Yellow Streak

4. Ashenden. Or the British Agent.
Contains 16 chapters.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • Heinemann, 1928. First Edition.
  • Doubleday Doran, 1928. First American Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1934. The Collected Edition. New 6pp Preface. Reprinted in 1948.
  • Doubleday Doran, 1941. New 7pp Preface. Slightly expanded from the 1934 Preface.
  • Vintage Classics, 2000. Contains the 1934 Preface.

1. R. - 2. A Domiciliary Visit - 3. Miss King - 4. The Hairless Mexican - 5. The Dark Woman - 6. The Greek - 7. A Trip to Paris - 8. Giulia Lazzari - 9. Gustav - 10. The Traitor - 11. Behind the Scenes - 12. His Excellency - 13. The Flip of a Coin - 14. A Chance Acquaintance - 15. Love and Russian Literature - 16. Mr. Harrington's Washing

15 of chapters were later merged into six short stories:

  • Chapters 1 to 3 later merged into Miss King
  • Chapters 4 to 6 later merged into The Hairless Mexican
  • Chapters 7 and 8 later merged into Giulia Lazzari
  • Chapters 9 and 10 later merged into The Traitor
  • Chapters 11 and 12 later merged in His Excellency
  • Chapters 14 to 16 later merged into Mr. Harrington's Washing

Chapter 13, The Flip of a Coin, was never published separately

5. Six Stories Written in the First Person Singular. 6 short stories. Original preface without title

Short Publication History and Contents

  • Doubleday Doran, 1931. First Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1931. First English Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1936. The Collected Edition. New 5pp Preface.
  • Virtue
  • The Round Dozen
  • The Human Element
  • Jane
  • The Alien Corn
  • The Creative Impulse

6. Ah King. 6 short stories. Original preface Ah King.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • Heinemann, 1933. First Edition.
  • Doubleday Doran, 1933. First American Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1936. The Collected Edition. New 6pp. Preface, greatly expanded from the original one.
  • Footprints in the Jungle
  • The Door of Opportunity
  • The Vessel of Wrath
  • The Book-Bag
  • The Back of Beyond
  • Neil Macadam


Ray Long was compelled to turn down The Book-Bag since its plot is concerned with incest; although Maugham does not mention the word even once, the short story was considered too scandalous for the pages of Cosmopolitan. Ray Long, however, did publish the story in a book form after all; it was included in a volume with his favourite short stories and subtitle 20 Best Short Stories in Ray Long's 20 Years as an Editor. He named the book The Book-Bag.

7. Cosmopolitans. 29 short stories. Original Preface.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • Doubleday Doran, 1936. First Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1936. First English Edition.
  • Heinemann, 1938. The Collected Edition. The Original Preface.
  • Preface
  • Raw Material
  • Mayhew
  • German Harry
  • The Happy Man
  • The Dream
  • In a Strange Land
  • The Luncheon
  • Salvatore
  • Home
  • Mr. Know-All
  • The Escape
  • A Friend in Need
  • The Portrait of a Gentleman
  • The End of the Flight
  • The Judgement Seat
  • The Ant and the Grasshopper
  • French Joe
  • The Man with the Scar
  • The Poet
  • Louise
  • The Closed Shop
  • The Promise
  • A String of Beads
  • The Bum
  • Straight Flush
  • The Verger
  • The Wash Tub
  • The Social Sense
  • The Four Dutchmen


The Luncheon is significantly rewritten version of Cousin Amy which was first published in magazine in 1908 but had to wait more than 60 years to appear in book form: Seventeen Lost Stories (1969).

8. The Mixture as Before. 10 short stories. Original Foreword.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • Heinemann, 1940. First Edition.
  • Doubleday Doran, 1940. First American Edition.
  • Foreword
  • The Three Fat Women of Antibes
  • A Man with a Conscience
  • The Treasure
  • The Lotus Eater
  • The Lion's Skin
  • Lord Mountdrago
  • Gigolo and Gigolette
  • The Voice of the Turtle
  • An Official Position
  • The Facts of Life

9. Creatures of Circumstance. 15 short stories. Original preface The Author Excuses Himself.

Short Publication History and Contents

  • Heinemann, 1947. First Edition.
  • Doubleday, 1947. First American Edition.
  • The Author Excuses Himself
  • The Colonel's Lady
  • Flotsam and Jetsam
  • Appearance and Reality
  • The Mother
  • Sanatorium
  • A Woman of Fifty
  • The Romantic Young Lady
  • A Casual Affair
  • The Point of Honour
  • Winter Cruise
  • The Happy Couple
  • A Man from Glasgow
  • The Unconquered
  • Episode
  • The Kite

The Mother appears to be one of the very few cases when Maugham was satisfied with an early work of his. It was first published in magazine in 1909 and later was only slightly revised for its inclusion in book form. Apparently, the early version was reprinted in magazine form the same year (Liberty, 26 April 1947) and even appeared in book form 11 years later: The Cassell Miscellany (1958).

The Happy Couple was first published in Cassell's Magazine in 1908 but later significantly rewritten. The later version appeared in Redbook (February, 1943) and in Creatures of Circumstance four years later. The early version is reprinted in Seventeen Lost Stories (1969).

A Man from Glasgow exists as an early version titled Told in the Inn at Algeciras. It is reprinted in The Ash-Tree Press Annual Macabre, 1999, ed. Jack Adrian.

Read more about this topic:  W. Somerset Maugham Bibliography

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