The Summing Up, LXIII

I think this chapter might be the longest so far in the book. Maugham announces—midway through the lengthy first paragraph—The Summing Up is now in its final part. He’s done drama, he’s done fiction, what’s left to do. To talk about his experience of reading philosophy. There’s not a lot of detail in his response to particular philosophers. There is a bit, but Maugham qualifies his reading of the material. He was reading it for “pleasure,” not “instruction.” It’s an engaging chapter, mostly because of his conversational tone and his lack of defensiveness. He’s recounting, not ranting. And it turns out he did edit The Summing Up—he talks about it in the chapter—but he did it before this point in the drafting of the book, before he was finished. Maybe doing three (or four) parts to the book would’ve made more sense. More structure, not less.

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