Friday, September 17, 2010

The simple and most perfect pattern

West Wycombe Park


"He had lived always in the future, and the present always, always had slipped through his fingers. His ideals? He thought of his desire to make a design, intricate and beautiful, out of the myriad, meaningless facts of life: had he not seen also that the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children, and died, was likewise the most perfect? It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories. "

W. Somerset Maugham
in "Of Human Bondage"

4 comments:

Trulyfool said...

I knew of Maugham and read him even before Kerouac, both in my teens. What could I have made of either?

They don't teach Maugham anymore, as they don't touch any (yet, again) who wrote from an ostensible 'imperial' viewpoint, a European-dominant viewpoint.

They've almost deified Kerouac.

What do I make of the design of accidental reading I've done? What adventure did I expect, and what did I find turn up when I closed the pages, walked out the door, and moved?

Claudia said...

I much prefer Maugham to Kerouac. I could barely empathize with "On the Road" and reading it didn't change me, like a good book should. It seems like I'm always out of sync with the times.

There usually comes a time when one gives up trying to make designs and patterns out of accidental facts of life. A time to surrender to the mediocrity of easy, safe, numb, unquestioning happinness.

Ian said...

Splendid.
I miss him.
I suggest an English viewpoint.
Although he went to university in Germany.
One should read at least one Maugham novel;to understand the femininity in men.
An excellent post.

Claudia said...

I agree, Ian. Thank you for such a positive comment.