Although THE SUMMING UP must be classified as autobiography, in only a very few of the seventy-seven sections into which it is divided is the author concerned with the listing of facts and events or the description of personalities important in his life, a procedure one customarily associates with this literary genre. In Sections VI and VII Mr. Maugham writes brief notes on his grandparents, his eccentric barrister grandfather (on his father’s side his family has been connected with the law for several generations), and his grandmother on his mother’s side, who as the widow of an army officer settled in France, composed music and wrote novels. He gives scarcely more information on his parents, his young and beautiful mother, who died of tuberculosis before he was nine, and his older and “ugly” father whose death two years later left him an orphan to be brought up by his uncle, a clergyman. In Sections XVIII through XXI he touches on his experiences, both happy and unhappy, as a schoolboy in Canterbury and much later as a student at St. Thomas’ Hospital, in London, which provided him with material for his creative work, particularly as a novelist. Elsewhere are passages, often merely a short paragraph or two, seldom more than a few pages, in which Mr. Maugham recounts his adventures as a tourist or temporary resident in a foreign country; for example, as a young man in Spain or as a member of the British Intelligence Service during World War I....
(The entire section is 1560 words.)
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