The Tenth Man - W. Somerset Maugham

cover of The Tenth Man by W. Somerset Maugham First Edition 1913
The Tenth Man by W. Somerset Maugham
First Edition 1913

The Tenth Man (London: Heinemann, 1913)

This post will be about one of W. Somerset Maugham’s plays, The Tenth Man. A Tragic Comedy, first produced in 1910. We will look at the story and the first edition. At the end of the post, you will find a link to an ebook copy of the play.

The Tenth Man: A Political Plot

Though termed as a “tragic comedy, ” The Tenth Man does not have too much comedy in it, but then it is not all tragic either. The term "the tenth man" has since World War Z become something that people are interested in. It simply means that somehow there is a tenth man somewhere, who disagrees with or reacts differently from the other nine (the majority) who happen to have reached a unanimous decision to act in the same way.

Maugham's The Tenth Man tells the story of George Winter, a ruthless rogue whose sole objective is to satisfy his political ambition, disregarding everyone that is in his way, including those that are close to him. It begins just like several Maugham's comedies, a wife having decided to leave her husband, but promptly another theme emerges. I don't want to reveal the plot too much, just that all Winter's plans are kaput when he encounters his tenth man.

I haven't read a lot of Maugham's plays until recently; I was aware that he was a celebrated playwright before his novels became well-known. I have to say that he is a masterful dramatist. Somehow he makes you care for George Winter, though he is by no means a charming person at the beginning. At the end, when the inevitable happens, you sigh for him.

The Tenth Man: First Edition

The Tenth Man was first produced at the Globe Theatre in 1910 and was written the year before. It is somehow not included in the Collected Plays; I personally think that it should have deserved it. The edition I have is of the cherry red buckram binding by Heinemann. The price is along that of Maugham's rare plays, i.e., a hundred upwards; and I would tend to think that it won't get cheaper if it is a copy with the original binding, except perhaps in some out-of-way book fairs or old book shops.

You will find an ebook copy at free ebook - plays page.

The Tenth Man at


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