The Summing Up, XLVII

It’s a short chapter, a couple paragraphs, which is good because it’s just Maugham doubling down on his “professional writer” thing. Amateur writers might have a single book in them but not a second one. Not everyone can write, not everyone should write—he even throws shade about it (apparently at the United States?)—if an amateur gets lucky with one book, they should stop because they aren’t working towards their greater goal. The problem is Maugham’s best work wasn’t his last and he sets it up as a progression. Lots of people go on too long. Lots of them. Not just writers, but musicians, filmmakers, painters, illustrators. Though I suppose Maugham’s argument would be those other folks have more physicality affecting their work as they age. And, crap, Maugham published The Razor’s Edge in 1944. I always assumed it was from the twenties. I still don’t agree with him.

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