The Summing Up, XLIII

Maugham talks a little about Liza of Lambeth, his first novel, which was enough of a success he figured he could quit his day job and just write. He talks more about his first publisher and the writing market at the time than the novel itself. He went on to draft a second novel immediately after that success, a historical romance. He doesn’t talk much about that novel—just its setting, Italy during the Renaissance—just about how it probably wasn’t a good idea to attempt it. He’d read someone say young writers should write historical fiction because they haven’t lived life enough. Maugham disagrees and wishes he’d known to do so at the time. In fact, he argues the older the author gets, the better the imagination becomes. It “grows by exercise” and is “more powerful in the mature than in the young.” It’s an okay chapter, but the chronological disruption I was worried about is real.

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