The Summing Up, XIV

It’s a peculiar chapter. If only because Maugham praises American writers over British (because they’ve escaped the King James Bible no less, which I’m not sure is accurate). He doesn’t provide specific examples, which is unfortunate, but he likes how American writers have come from newspapers and don’t turn up their noses at them. The newspaper, to Maugham, is “the raw material straight from the knacker’s yard.” He then goes on to rave about British authors. However, he does have a wonderful observation about how the writer’s “ideal vision” of themselves is just as important as their “outward seeming.” Obviously, given the nature of the book itself, Maugham is negotiating between both those versions of himself–and while it doesn’t walk back his hostility in setting up the book, it does invite the reader to modify or reserve judgment of him as an author. So a decent enough chapter, save the Anglophila. I just wanted him to say he liked Hemingway.

Scroll to Top