Maugham’s Marriage

  • Jeffrey Meyers


Maugham was a homosexual and spent most of his life living with men. But in the decade between 1905 and 1915 he had love affairs with four attractive and professionally accomplished women, and portrayed them in his work. Violet Hunt appeared as Rose Waterford in The Moon and Sixpence, the revolutionary Alexandra Kropotkin became Anastasia Leonidov in Ashenden, the actress Ethelwyn Sylvia (Sue) Jones inspired Rosie Driffield in Cakes and Ale and Gwendolyn Syrie Barnardo Wellcome was the model for Mrs Tower in ‘Jane’ and Lady Grayston in Our Betters. Maugham’s marriage, unlike those that sustained and inspired other writers, was utterly miserable. He married Syrie in 1916, divorced in 1928 and hated her for the rest of his long life. She intensified his misogyny and provoked some of his most vitriolic portraits of women.*


Love Affair Human Bondage Marylebone Road North American Literature Sexual Demand 
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© Jeffrey Meyers 2004

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  • Jeffrey Meyers

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