Although their settings span a wide geographical area, from the Sough Pacific to India, Maugham's exotic short stories, novels, and travelogues all, ultimately, focus on the creation of a masculine British identity. This book addresses Maugham's fiction in the light of recent developments in postcolonial, gender, and cultural theory, arguing that Maugham's work can be understood as an attempt to negotiate between two alternative masculine identities: those of private homosexual and public writer. Holden identifies Maugham's attempts to cultivate a public persona as a writer whose heterosexuality is confirmed through a process of control and language. Furthermore, Holden illuminates the fluidity of language that Maugham, in contrast to his public persona, associated with homosexuality. The basis of this study is the provocative notion that Maugham's texts, despite their exotic locations, ultimately dramatise a struggle over masculine British identity.