W. Somerset Maugham and the art of describing people vividly

W. Somerset Maugham was a British writer who also practiced medicine. Maugham was known for his realistic writing style and his precise descriptions of characters and situations, which were often influenced by his medical training and experience.

As a physician, he was skilled at observing people closely and analyzing their physical and emotional states. He often used precise and objective descriptions of physical features in his books to bring characters and situations to life. Here are some examples from his work:

“She had long blond hair that fell in soft waves down her shoulders, and her large blue eyes were framed by thick lashes.”

(from “Of Human Bondage”)

In this description, Maugham uses detailed information about hair color, hair length, hair texture, eye color, and eyelashes to bring the person’s appearance to life and give the reader a clear picture of him.

“His gaunt figure was framed by a carefully trimmed beard, and his sharp features showed intellect and determination.”

(from “Of Human Bondage”)

Here Maugham uses words like “gaunt,” “sharp,” and “trimmed” to accurately describe the character’s appearance and emphasize his personality.

“She was tall enough to show off a train with elegance, and her hips were so narrow that she could conjure up the scent of heather in sportswear. Her long legs allowed her to wear pajamas with distinction, and her slender waist, her small breasts made the simplest bathing suit appear ravishing. “

(from “The Razor’s Edge”)

In this description of Lisette the mannequin, Maugham works with associations. Neither Lisette wears a train nor sportswear in this scene. But through imagination, the author escapes the clumsy enumeration of her bodily features.

These examples show how Maugham used precise and detailed descriptions of physical features to bring his characters to life in his works and to give the reader a clear picture of them. He paid close attention to details such as hair color, hair length, facial features, physique, and skin texture to accurately convey the appearance of his characters.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *