William Somerset Maugham (1874ï 1965) was born at the height of British imperial power. When he died, the British Empire was all but a memory. In Maugham's lifetime, as his civilization slowly disappeared, people from all walks of life, the proud, the urbane, the crude, and the desperate, passed beneath the lens of his dispassionate scrutiny. Transformed into some of the most unforgettable literary works of the 20th century, his experiences re-emerged in his plays, fiction, and essays. No other writer possessed his keen ability of observation. It was an ability so well honed that his work makes you feel as if you have been drawn into an intimate conversation with the century's most arresting and sophisticated personality.
The Summing Up represents Maugham's life and philosophy in his own words. It is autobiographical in nature, though most of the work is concerned with Maugham's unique and fascinating opinions on the theater, writing, metaphysics, and the interesting people he encountered in his long and successful career. His style is very conversational and you feel yourself settling into an intellectual odyssey led by a man who lived life to its fullest. Sixty years after The Summing Up was published, Maugham's controversial insights and opinions continue to stimulate conversation and debate. This is one of the most entertaining, self-revealing pieces of all time. Download and start listening now!