THE VAGRANT MOOD: Six Essays by W. Somerset Maugham


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Six essays, covering a range of time and mood and subject matter. Probably readers will have their individual favorites. Personally, I found the nostalgic and evocative pieces more interesting than the objective and critical ones. Augustus, in its recall of a world that is no more, was more interesting on that level than on the thin-spun-out portraiture; Zurbaran will introduce for many readers a Spanish painter considerably less well-known than, perhaps, he deserves to be (his story is more interesting than his art); The Decline and Fall of the Detective Story may prove provocative and- to some- controversial; After Reading Burke shows Maugham in the role of perceptive literary critic; Reflections on a Certain Book is misleading as to title- for it is distinguished chiefly for the portrait of the philosopher, Kant; Some Novelists I have Known shares with Maugham's readers, his intimacy, his acquaintanceship, with figures of English writing of a generation that has passed,- Mrs. Humphrey Ward, Henry James, H.G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, Elizabeth Russell, Edith Wharton. This will be- for most of his readers- the liveliest, most personal of the essays. And the market, while enhanced by the author's name, will still be limited by the genre.

Publisher: Doubleday