The Summing Up, XXX

It’s an extremely cute chapter. Maugham lets his sentimentality run wild because he knows he’s got a good, mercenary ending for the chapter and he can pull one over on the reader. He’s talking about plays and what he liked about seeing them performed and when and what he didn’t like about seeing them performed. The stunning thing about The Summing Up is how consistent Maugham makes his inconsistencies. It’s a manufactured honesty, which he openly admits at the start, but just the way the book flows, every point he raises—even if an aside or a tangent—informs his theses. These theses are about himself, but he at least appears to be going for objectivity and not trying to sway. It’s gently manipulative; genially, almost.