A quote from The Moon and Sixpence

February 26, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

A quote from The Moon and Sixpence by William Somerset Maugham.

But there is in my nature a strain of asceticism, and I have subjected my flesh each week to a more severe mortification. I have never failed to read the Literary Supplement of The Times. It is a salutary discipline to consider the vast number of books that are written, the fair hopes with which their authors see them published, and the fate which awaits them. What chance is there that any book will make its way among that multitude? And the successful books are but the successes of a season. Heaven knows what pains the author has been at, what bitter experiences he has endured and what heartache suffered, to give some chance reader a few hours’ relaxation or to while away the tedium of a journey. And if I may judge from the reviews, many of these books are well and carefully written; much thought has gone to their composition; to some even has been given the anxious labour of a lifetime. The moral I draw is that the writer should seek his reward in the pleasure of his work and in release from the burden of his thought; and, indifferent to aught else, care nothing for praise or censure, failure or success.

This was written in 1919. I wonder how puzzled the narrator would be if he had to face the French Rentrée Littéraire…

  1. February 26, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Beautiful quote, Emma! I loved ‘The Moon and Sixpence’ when i read it many years back. After reading the above quote, I want to read it again. Hope you are enjoying it. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on it. You should tell me more about ‘French Rentrée Littéraire’ 🙂


    • February 26, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      It is a beautiful quote. It didn’t fit in my billet about the book but I wanted to share this with other readers.

      For info about the Rentrée Littéraire, click HERE


      • February 27, 2013 at 8:22 am

        Thanks for sharing the quote, Emma. I loved your review of the book too. Thanks for the link on ‘Rentrée Littéraire’. I am off to read it now.


  2. TBM
    February 26, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    What a beautiful, insightful, and sad quote. I haven’t read anything by him yet, but this quote suggests I would like him.


    • February 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      I love this writer. I’ll publish a billet about The Moon and Sixpence very soon. I have already “reviewed” The Trembling of a Leaf and Cakes and Ale, it’s on the blog if you’re interested. He’s wonderful.


  3. corinne-journet
    February 26, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Hello J’ai fini le livre la nuit dernière. Je ne m’attendais pas du tout à ça mais je l’ai trouvé magnifique ! Bises de la montagne !


    Envoyé depuis m


    • February 26, 2013 at 8:07 pm

      Ton premier commentaire!!! J’y crois pas!!
      Le livre est magnifique, je te conseille de lire The Trembling of a Leaf, ce sont des nouvelles et c’est excellent.


  4. March 1, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    It is a painfully true quote isn’t it. Perhaps all the more so now Maugham’s own star has faded a bit (though a Maugham revival in a few years wouldn’t surprise me at all).


    • March 2, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      I thought it was beautiful too, Rilke says something similar about writing for yourself more than to seek others’ praise or fame.


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