“Liza of Lambeth” is the debut novel by British author W. Somerset Maugham. It was first published in 1897 and is one of Maugham’s earliest works. The novel is a naturalistic and somewhat autobiographical exploration of working-class life in the London district of Lambeth.
The story follows the life of Liza Kemp, a young and attractive factory worker living in the working-class neighborhood of Lambeth. Liza’s life is marked by the struggles and hardships of poverty, as well as the challenges of maintaining her reputation and dignity in a society with strict moral norms. The novel paints a vivid picture of the characters and environment in Lambeth, with a focus on the colorful and often harsh realities of the working-class community.
Maugham’s portrayal of Liza and her interactions with the people in her neighborhood is seen as a reflection of the author’s own experiences while working as a medical student in a similar area of London. The novel explores themes of social class, morality, and the consequences of one’s actions within the context of a working-class community.
“Liza of Lambeth” is often regarded as a naturalistic novel, a literary movement that sought to depict life and characters as they were, without romanticizing or idealizing them. It was well-received upon its publication and established Maugham as a promising young writer. While it may not be as famous as some of his later works, “Liza of Lambeth” is a significant work in Maugham’s literary career and offers valuable insights into late 19th-century London and the lives of the working class during that period.