The Summing Up, VIII

This chapter concerns Maugham’s lack of formal training in writing, but also his lateness to the English language. He was raised in France. He opens the chapter relating his English lessons after the death of his mother—an English clergymen having him read the police blotter. He goes on to talk about how he’s had two particularly incisive reads of his pre-publication novels; while he values the insight, it doesn’t sound like he did anything with it. Definitely not in the second case. It’s a little unclear in the first, though I suppose one could read the discussed novel and see if he’s still using the semi-colon a lot. Nice to know that practice, which I found somewhat startling in The Narrow Corner, also startled his de facto editor. It’s a bit of a frustrating chapter. Maugham’s recollections of these writing feedbacks lacks the charm of his childhood reminiscences. It’s a relatively long chapter too and feels a tad padded.

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