W. Somerset Maugham
Quotations

There is no explanation for evil. It must be looked upon as a necessary part of the order of the universe. To ignore it is childish, to bewail it senseless.

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of habit.

For if the proper study of mankind is man, it is evidently more sensible to occupy yourself with the coherent, substantial and significant creatures of fiction than with the irrational and shadowy figures of real life.

Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practised at spare moments; it is a whole-time job.

When you are young you take the kindness people show you as your right.

Like all weak men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's mind.

I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.

The common idea that success spoils people by making them vain, egotistic, and self-complacent is erroneous; on the contrary, it makes them, for the most part, humble, tolerant, and kind. Failure makes people cruel and bitter.

Anyone can tell the truth, but only very few of us can make epigrams.

Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.

The ideal has many names, and beauty is but one of them.

No one can write a best seller by trying to. He must write with complete sincerity; the clichés that make you laugh, the hackneyed characters, the well-worn situations, the commonplace story that excites your derision, seem neither hackneyed, well worn nor commonplace to him. The conclusion is obvious: you cannot write anything that will convince unless you are yourself convinced. The best seller sells because he writes with his heart's blood.

No egoism is so insufferable as that of the Christian with regard to his soul.

Common-sense appears to be only another name for the thoughtlessness of the unthinking. It is made of the prejudices of childhood, the idiosyncrasies of individual character and the opinion of the newspapers.

At a dinner party one should eat wisely but not too well, and talk well but not too wisely.

I made up my mind long ago that life was too short to do anything for myself that I could pay others to do for me.

It is not true that suffering ennobles the character; happiness does that sometimes, but suffering, for the most part, makes men petty and vindictive.

Habits in writing as in life are only useful if they are broken as soon as they cease to be advantageous.



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