The Summing Up, LXI

This chapter is all about the artist and how the artist is different from other people. Wait, not people. Men. The artist is different than other men. Because women want to tame the artist, but know they cannot and therefore find the artist irresistible. Because women’s “desire” is to dominate men. Apparently not in a fun way either. Luckily, the artist can escape it all because he is so far above the common man. The chapter actually starts out more interesting, with Maugham broaching the subject of “the discrepancy between the artist’s life and his work.” He doesn’t really go anywhere with it, he doesn’t provide many examples (and the ones he does provide are pat), which is disappointing. If anyone could work their way to a reasonable sounding position on person vs. creation, it’d be Maugham. There’s some quotable Maugham here, but only if you’re looking for Maugham being a dick, which sometimes one does want to read because Maugham’s pretty good at it. The most amusing part is easily when he dismisses Dickens in the last couple sentences of the chapter as mediocre.

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