Mrs. Craddock (1902) is a novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Controversial for its portrayal of infidelity and marriage across social classes, Mrs. Craddock was instrumental in establishing Maugham’s reputation as a leading author of the late Victorian era. Due to its content, the novel appeared exclusively in Bowdlerized form until Maugham saw it republished in 1938. Bertha Ley has always been independent. Orphaned at a young age, she comes into a sizable inheritance at 21 and declares her wish to marry Edward Craddock, a 27-year-old from a working-class background. Despite his initial hesitance, she encourages him to propose and assures him that they can raise a family together. As she signs over control of her fortune to Craddock, ostensibly to give him the confidence he desperately needs, Bertha slowly realizes that she is unattracted to almost everything about him. His morals, interests, and attitudes are all shaped by a way of life she will never understand, and he appears solely dedicated to raising his animals. When their first child is stillborn, things begin to change for the young husband and wife—Bertha retreats while Edward leans into his commitment to work, even taking an interest in local politics. Although Bertha begins to accept her unhappiness, something inside her remains undeterred, longing to be released. With a beautifully designed cover and professionally typeset manuscript, this edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s Mrs. Craddock is a classic work of British literature reimagined for modern readers.
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About the Author
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was an English novelist, playwright, and short story writer. Born in Paris, he was orphaned as a boy and sent to live with an emotionally distant uncle. He struggled to fit in as a student at The King’s School in Canterbury and demanded his uncle send him to Heidelberg University, where he studied philosophy and literature. In Germany, he had his first affair with an older man and embarked on a career as a professional writer. After completing his degree, Maugham moved to London to begin medical school. There, he published Liza of Lambeth (1897), his debut novel. Emboldened by its popular and critical success, he dropped his pursuit of medicine to devote himself entirely to literature. Over his 65-year career, he experimented in form and genre with such works as Lady Frederick (1907), a play, The Magician (1908), an occult novel, and Of Human Bondage (1915). The latter, an autobiographical novel, earned Maugham a reputation as one of the twentieth century’s leading authors, and continues to be recognized as his masterpiece. Although married to Syrie Wellcome, Maugham considered himself both bisexual and homosexual at different points in his life. During and after the First World War, he worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service as a spy in Switzerland and Russia, writing of his experiences in Ashenden: Or the British Agent (1927), a novel that would inspire Ian Fleming’s James Bond series. At one point the highest-paid author in the world, Maugham led a remarkably eventful life without sacrificing his literary talent.