The Summing Up, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


Autobiographical without being an autobiography, confessional without disclosing his private self, "The Summing Up", written when Maugham was sixty-four, is an inimitable expression of a personal credo.

It is not only a classic avowal of a professional author's ideas about style, literature, art, drama and philosophy, but also an illuminating insight into this great writer's craft.


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It is somewhat ironic that Maugham composed this semi-autobiographical novel when he was only about a half way through his career as a writer; however, he was not to know that, and the piece proves enlightening all the same.Maugham was a playwright before a novelist, and he dissects the theatre with a keen sense of how things work and where things can so easily go wrong. I love the idea, talking about his triumphs as a novelist, that it is important to fly from success rather than build on it - it avoids becoming typecast or boring as a writer.The final chapters, on Maugham's philosophical beliefs, certainly explained a lot about Larry Darrell in 'The Razor's Edge', so adding to my enjoyment and appreciation of that novel.

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