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In 1916, Maugham had married Syrie, and they had a daughter, Lisa. Domestic life did not seem to agree with Maugham, and he was divorced in 1927, freeing him to travel; his foreign experience, in turn, provided him with abundant material for his writing. In 1928, Maugham moved to the French Riviera and built a spacious and beautiful house called Villa Mauresque. In 1934, he traveled to the West Indies and visited Devil's Island, the notorious French penal colony. His encounters with the prisoners resulted in the Ned Preston stories. In 1938, he made a memorable journey to India, where he was fascinated by Hindu mysticism; under its influence, he wrote Razor's Edge.
Between 1921 and 1939, Maugham wrote a variety of literature. He published several plays, including The Circle, The Constant Wife, The Letter, and The Breadwinner. His additional short story collections included The Trembling of a Leaf (1921), On a Chinese Screen (1922), and First Person Singular (1931). His second most well known novel, a comic satire about a British author, was published in 1930. The Summing Up, published in 1938, was the personal observation of a professional writer.