The Summing Up, XXIX

The chapter starts like it’s going to be more travelogue, albeit too lightly detailed. Maugham is thinking back to his twenty-third year, now a published author, heading to Spain to learn Spanish. He had a plan to learn a bunch of languages, then gave it all up because learning languages isn’t important for a writer. Though no one can have great literature except the French and English, everyone else only can have great writers. Maugham makes the statement without irony. For as much as he searches in The Summing Up, his jingoism and his pride in his upbringing (in France, reading, writing, speaking French) remain unknown to him. It’s kind of funny, kind of not.