The Summing Up, IX

A longer chapter, but mostly free of anecdote. Instead, it’s just Maugham talking about his nature ability as a writer. It’s kind of awesome to see the ego on such display. He shines it; not for the reader’s entertainment, but out of his own pride. Only then he goes on to talk about how he’s returned to older works and he can’t recognize them, something any writer, regardless of success, is going to experience. There are some interesting confessions here too—like how, when starting out, Maugham went and wrote down a bunch of fancy names of objects from the British Museum or tried to mimic the Bible because it’s considered the greatest prose ever. The fancy names stayed in a notebook, but it does sound like the Bible influences ended up in his book, The Land of the Blessed Virgin. It’s the one he says “bored [him] to distraction.” He judges it quite harshly, some thirty years after writing it, which—again—isn’t a surprise.

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