The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham - First Edition Third Issue

The Moon and Sixpence, First UK edition, 1919 by W. Somerset Maugham
The Moon and Sixpence, First UK edition,
1919 by W. Somerset Maugham

The Moon and Sixpence (London: Heinemann, 1919)

Added recently to my acquisition is the first English edition of W. Somerset Maugham’s novel The Moon and Sixpence. This is the third copy of The Moon and Sixpence that I own. Yes, I know, can’t help it. I do like the book very much and just finish rereading it again.

The Moon and Sixpence

The last time I read Of Human Bondage was a year ago. When I reread The Moon and Sixpence (again), I would say that it marks a very important shift in Maugham’s style. He has achieved mastery in The Moon and Sixpence, not only by creating the Maugham persona that has been talked about so much, but, for example, the plot structure is so intricate that when you start analysing it you see the complications behind. The interaction with the reader is very subtle, but it is definitely there. Maugham has said a lot of things that he hasn’t really said. I know some people are going to yell at me for what I am going to say, but I am going to say it anyway. It’s like “Hills Like White Elephants,” the main point is always there but left unannounced.

So, what is my conclusion?

It is absolutely a fascinating novel! And do read it! A proofread free ebook is available on Maugham - Novels page.

The Moon and Sixpence - First Edition, Third Issue

The Moon and Sixpence, First UK edition, Third Issue, 1919 by W. Somerset Maugham
The Moon and Sixpence, First UK edition,
Third Issue, 1919 by W. Somerset Maugham

Don’t be surprised if some day I am going to say that I have got a fourth copy of The Moon and Sixpence. I simply couldn’t resist this one. It is not a true first in the collector’s sense, because this is the third issue. It is so cheap that I didn’t even mind. The pages are quite brown and brittle.

According to Stott, there are three issues of the first edition of The Moon and Sixpence, distinguished by the stubs and the advertisement leaves. Well, I don’t think I have a copy with stubs before, so there you are.

The first edition first issue at the moment is over US$200. Anyway, keep in mind that there are three issues.

The Moon and Sixpence at AbeBooks


  1. Actually the thing determining the first and third issue is the amount of Philpott's books listed on one of the advertisements. I copied this from Norman Moore:

    First edition, first issue, Heinemann 1919, green cloth, blocked in black, four pages of ads with six Phillpotts titles, 4800 issued, Stott A22a.
    First edition, second issue, Heinemann 1919, green cloth, blocked in black, no ads, cancelled stubs showing, Stott A22a.
    First edition, third issue, Heinemann 1919, green cloth, blocked in black, four pages of ads with seven Phillpotts titles, Stott A22a".

    Mine has six. Check yours, you might have a first issue. But then, like you said, they're all A22A's.

    1. Thanks. I don't remember if I looked at the ads before. I just had a check. I have the third issue, and Stott gives a lot of details of the content of the ads. And the first two pages from my copy just fell out... and I couldn't stop laughing...

      In Stott for 1st issue:
      "In the first issue the last signature consists of six leaves, the last two of which are publishers' advertisements. (The quarter sheet over from the last signature was evidently used for the preliminary two leaves.) On p. 2 of the advertisements there are listed six novels by Eden Phillpotts, seventeen by Flora Annie Steel and three by Israel Zangwill, the last of the three being 'Jinny the Carrier. (Read shortly).' P. 4 includes an announcement of 'The Mad House' by William de Morgan."

      Definitely should keep yours. Just checked, still selling over US$200. I got my copy for less than £1, so no complaints.

  2. This morning while watching an old re-run of "That Girl," an American sit-com from 1967, I spotted a copy of "The Moon and Sixpence" in one of the scenes. It was during a conversation directly in front of a bookcase. It was the Modern Library edition; I spotted those ultra bright yellows and greens of the dust-jacket right away, then looked as close as I could at the spine and it did in fact say "The Moon and Sixpence."

    1. This is fantastic! Very intriguing, and in late sixties. Would be lovely to have a screen shot of that.


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