The Summing Up, XXVII

This chapter starts with some wonderful Maugham elitism regarding aspiring authors asking him for advice. He goes on and on about how the young people refuse to acquaint themselves with the great works of the past. Maugham even writes about how the soul needs renewing nourishment and the best way to get it is exploring the classics. But then he finishes, after a lot of fast work through a page or so, to get to the current generation of writers being more likely to get at the great human truths than any other. He was sixty-four, after all. It’s like he was mad at the kids on the lawn, but then had to admit their shenanigans looked amusing. ”No reading is worth while unless you enjoy it,” he writes. I suppose in the right context, I agree. The text doesn’t have to be enjoyable while the reading of it does need to be. Sure.

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