The Summing Up, LXXIII

It’s an unexpected chapter, with a handful of unexpected statements from Maugham. For example, I was thrown when he advocated revolution to equalize the peoples of the world. Maugham? Because he goes on to talk about how he’s a fortunate one. He has this wonderful, somewhat not-Maugham line, “We live now on the eve of great revolutions.” Of course, he didn’t. He talks about writing the book, he talks about living in the thirties. He offers some sexist appreciations of women’s rights. He’s for them, but the ladies needed to figure out how not to be housewives and hang with the fellows. It’s a fine, more-sincere-than-usual-sounding chapter from Maugham. Especially when he gets to his discussion of aging. It’s somewhat lovely, betraying his dissatisfaction with his youth, and deals with the proposition of the afterlife. If you structure your life right—as Maugham did, because it’s Maugham—you have old age to achieve all those things you didn’t have time for before, because you were, basically, young and horny. Oh, and the revolution—Maugham (because Maugham) does admit he’d prefer the peoples of the world wait to get their equality until after he’s gone. He does enjoy his comforts.

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