The Summing Up, XLIV

Maugham starts the chapter saying he doesn’t want to talk much about his novels immediately following Liza of Lambeth and he mostly sticks to it. It’s not one of those chapters where he says he doesn’t want to talk about something and ends up going off the deep end on it. There’s a little about his writing during the period—specifically how one should not write a novel with the intention of capturing the attention of another (takes too long for the novel to get it and instead of romancing your intended, you end up in Italy on vacation)—but more on what he didn’t like about how he went about writing. Once again, Maugham writes about wishing he had some kind of mentorship. Instead, he did it on his own and went French instead of English in his interests, which he seems to think caused him some problems. He ends the chapter talking about what he doesn’t like about his perspective construction. Switching from the “all-knowing narrator” to “imperfect acquaintance of a participator” brings “unity and verisimilitude to a story.” So maybe he’ll get around to talking about some of his writing he does want to talk about soon.

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