Robin Maugham, 2nd Viscount Maugham

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A middle-aged man sits holding a drink.
Lord Maugham in 1974, by Allan Warren

Robert Cecil Romer Maugham, 2nd Viscount Maugham (17 May 1916 – 13 March 1981), known as Robin Maugham, was a British novelist, playwright and travel writer.

Early life[edit]

Robin Maugham was the son of Frederic Maugham, 1st Viscount Maugham, and Helen Romer. He was born into a legal dynasty and was expected to follow his father and grandfather and devote himself to the law. Although he qualified as a barrister, he realised that his real calling was to follow his uncle William Somerset Maugham as a writer.

Personal and family life[edit]

A smiling middle-aged man holds a small dog.
Maugham in 1974

Described as "defiantly homosexual", but in fact bisexual, Lord Maugham never married, and the viscountcy became extinct upon his death. He died from a pulmonary embolism, compounded by long-standing diabetes mellitus,[1] though an official cause of death was difficult to obtain as his body was apparently lost for forty-eight hours after his death. He had three sisters: Kate, Honor, and the novelist Diana Marr-Johnson (1908–2007). He is buried in Hartfield, Sussex, next to his parents.

Maugham bought the merchant ship MV Joyita as a hulk in the early 1960s, writing about the mystery of the incident in his book The Joyita Mystery (1962). The ship had been lost at sea only to reappear five weeks later after a massive search found nothing, without crew or passengers, and with four tons of cargo missing.

He wrote an autobiography, Escape from the Shadows (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1972), and then a sequel, Search for Nirvana (1975), and books about his uncle, as well as many other novels and plays.


His first three novels were filmed: The Servant by Joseph Losey in 1963, Line on Ginger by Guy Hamilton in 1953, and The Rough and the Smooth by Robert Siodmak in 1959.



  • The Servant (1948)
  • Line on Ginger (1949) (used for the film The Intruder)
  • The Rough and the Smooth (1951)
  • Behind the Mirror (1955)[2]
  • The Man with Two Shadows (1958)
  • November Reef (1962)
  • The Green Shade (1966)
  • The Wrong People (1967)
  • The Second Window (1968)
  • The Link: A Victorian Mystery (1969)
  • The Last Encounter (1972)
  • The Barrier (1973)
  • The Black Tent and Other Stories (Book published: 1972 - The Black Tent was made into a film in 1956)
  • The Sign (1974)
  • Knock on Teak (1976)
  • Lovers in Exile (1977)
  • The Dividing Line (1978)
  • The Corridor (1980)
  • Refuge (1980, unpublished)
  • The Deserters (1981)

Biography and travel[edit]

  • Come To Dust (1945)
  • Nomad (1947)
  • Approach to Palestine (1947)
  • North African Notebook (1948)
  • Journey to Siwa (1950)
  • The Slaves of Timbuktu (1961)
  • The Joyita Mystery (1962)
  • Somerset and All the Maughams (1966)
  • Escape from the Shadows (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1972): his autobiography
  • Search for Nirvana (1975): his autobiography, continued
  • Conversations with Willie (1978)
  • Willie (1979)

Plays, speeches, television and radio[edit]

  • 1955: The Leopard (play) set in Tanganyika. Connaught Theatre, Worthing
  • 1956: Mister Lear (play) Connaught Theatre, Worthing
  • 1957: Rise Above It (Television) Produced by ABC. BBC Productions
  • 1957: Odd Man In (play) Adaptation of Claude Magnier’s comedy Monsieur Masure. St Martin’s Theatre
  • 1957: The Last Hero (play) Repertory Players, Strand Theatre[disambiguation needed]. The subject was the life of General Gordon
  • 1957: The Lonesome Road (Play) by Robin Maugham and Philip King. Arts Theatre, London, (1957)
  • 1957: Winter in Ischia (Play) (not yet performed), see also 1965
  • 1958: The Servant (play) Adaptation by Robin Maugham. Connaught Theatre, Worthing
  • 1960: Slavery in Africa and Arabia (The House of Lords publication of his maiden speech; Hansard)
  • 1960: The Two Wise Virgins of Hove (ITV Television)
  • 1961: The Claimant (play) Connaught Theatre, Worthing
  • 1962: Azouk (play) Adaptation of Alexandre Rivermale’s play by Robin Maugham and Willis Hall. The Flora Robson Playhouse, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 1962: The Last Hero (radio play) based on the life of General Gordon. Produced for BBC Radio, Saturday Night Theatre
  • 1965: Winter in Ischia (television ITV), see also 1957
  • 1966: Gordon of Khartoum (Play of the Month, BBC1)
  • 1966: The Servant (play) The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford
  • 1969: Enemy (play) Premiere, The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre Guildford
  • 1969: Enemy (play) Saville Theatre, London
  • 1981: A Question of Retreat (play) Nightingale Theatre, Brighton; also adapted for a Radio 4, BBC production


  1. ^ P. Newley, The Krays and Bette Davis (Authors OnLine Ltd., 2006), p. 60.
  2. ^ John Betjeman, Daily Telegraph: ‘Robin Maugham can write ... the sincerity of the author and his gift of narrative and brief[ly], certain powers of describing a scene, character make him a fiction addict's delight.’

External links[edit]

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Frederic Maugham
Viscount Maugham