The Summing Up, XVIII

Maugham does a biographical chapter. It’s more of an annotated timeline with only a couple dates. He didn’t like school in England, worked out going to Germany until he turned eighteen. But he didn’t want to be a lawyer (though he doesn’t mention that decision in this chapter, but he did in the last one) and he didn’t want to be a priest. Maugham as a vicar. There’s a thought. His uncle (and guardian) looked at getting him into the civil service, but it was the late 1800s and a lot of socially unsuitable people had found their way into the civil service and it wouldn’t do to have young Willie Maugham in that profession. So off to medical school instead. Maugham’s pretty upfront about his disinterest in the studies; once he actually got to interact with patients and people, however, he got interested. It’s a particularly interesting chapter just for the narrative arc of it. It’s the first time Maugham’s developed himself as the protagonist. He hinted at developments before, but he didn’t do the actual developing. I probably should read Liza of Lambeth next.

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