When we opened a world famous book, we found that the protagonist went to the grocery store to buy a toothbrush alone. Then, the story began to write, what kind of houses he passed, there were dawn and sunset, the mountains were covered with snow, and the woods were dark and gloomy—you You may think, what is this written about? Is it because I don’t know how to appreciate it, or is this writer not writing well at all?
Be confident, but he didn’t write well. ——This is also Maugham’s judgment. He said that no matter how poetic and picturesque the scenery is, if it has nothing to do with promoting the development of the story, “that is superfluous nonsense.”
Then he called the writer by name. cool.
As we all know, Maugham who wrote “The Moon and Sixpence” is a great writer, but it turns out that he is also a great reader and super gossip.
“Reading is a Portable Refuge”, written by Maugham-this book is his large-scale poisonous tongue and gossip scene, which reviews a large number of unknown things of literary giants.
For example, he almost pulled off the legendary striped trousers of the author of “Red and Black” and Stendhal’s family.
■Favorite Weekly reporter Pan Weiqian
one ● Maugham did not let go of Flaubert’s affair
Of course, this does not detract from his admiration for Stendhal’s “calm, clear and controlling style”. In fact, the thirteen writers who can enter Maugham’s book are all “literary masters” in his heart. But “Reading is a Portable Refuge” is not a literary monograph. To a large extent, “it is a storybook composed of life anecdotes of literary masters”.
For example, the love and killing between Tolstoy and his wife——
“War and Peace”, Maugham bluntly said in the book, it “is the greatest novel in the world“, and no novel is more worthy of the word “epic” than it. However, behind the great epic is also a man who was embarrassed by his wife and ran away. Yes, Maugham said, he finally ran away and died on the road. Inspired by conscience or urged by believers, but to temporarily escape from his wife…. Not long ago, he made a will without telling his wife.”
And Flaubert’s “death by poison”——
The one who, after writing Madame Bovary’s suicide episode, felt that he too was poisoned. Maugham, in his own book, did not hesitate to praise, saying that in “Madame Bovary”, Flaubert used a perfect technique to portray the character of the characters, making the authenticity very convincing. Flaubert is good at “bringing” the characters out through their activities, so we often get to know their true faces step by step, and then empathize with these details and think that these details are “wow so real”, and finally, with the superficial lady, “Poisoned to death”.
But Maugham did not let go of the gossip “the frail Flaubert’s unethical beach affair”; as above, he carefully recorded the great confusion of “imprisoning” Leo Tolstoy in his life (wife, money and another man etc.); not to mention, there are examples in detail, demonstrating Stendhal’s suspected “frigidity” caused by his life and inferiority——
Maugham rejected the deification of the master. Only in the fertile soil that is true, full and even full of human frailties can truly touching works be born.
This is by no means comparable to the flow of “mountains covered with snow”.
two ● gossip because he wants to “get”
Why does Maugham gossip like this?
Because he also felt that “reading should be a kind of enjoyment” and a kind of pleasure. Furthermore, the same goes for “reading people”.
“The books I want to mention really made me know more after reading them. If I hadn’t read them, I don’t think I would be who I am today.”
He got it.
Maugham, who is very good at storytelling, especially believes that the novel itself must have wonderful stories, such as Shan Ruzom in “One Thousand and One Nights”, it is because the story is so wonderful that the cruel king can’t stop, so he can 1001 Nights Can’t die. “A story is a lifeline the novelist throws to hold the reader’s interest.”
The haughty rich bachelor who just moved next door, and the girl in the boudoir of a small country gentleman’s family, it’s a wonderfully tacky story. Cheesy, what a down-to-earth term here. However, if you read “Pride and Prejudice” carefully, you will find that it is full of trivial daily routines and familiar eating and drinking men and women, so why, we always read one page and turn the other, eager to know what’s next What about the plot?
Maugham speculates on the original author for the expressive power of the wonderful story: “I often think, where does such a writing talent come from? Perhaps the reason is that Jane Austen not only has a deep understanding of the characters in the book and their Destiny is deeply interested, and she believes in everything that happens to characters.”
Jane Austen’s convictions include her belief that lovers will eventually get married, and she also believes that human beings have hypocrisy and posturing. However, she always yearns for the former, but she is not angry with the latter but finds it interesting. Therefore, The exaggeration and humor in “Pride and Prejudice” are so natural.
And Maugham also “eight” published Ms. Jane Austen’s private letters to prove it. These letters originally written to her sister are different from many “letter collections” written for publication. They are clever, mean and cute——
She gossips: “Mrs. Richard Harvey is getting married soon. It’s a great secret. Only half of the neighbors know it. Don’t tell it!”
She spoke venomously: “Think about it, Mrs. Holt is dead! This poor woman, in this world, death is the only thing she can do to avoid being attacked.”
She laughed at herself: “There are only twelve laps, I danced nine laps, because I didn’t have a partner, I didn’t complete the remaining few laps.”
Maugham found the answer to writing in the writer’s gossip; we found the joy of 1+1>2 from the superposition of Maugham’s gossip.
three ● Complex pleasures that both loathe and love
If you have mixed emotions of disgust and love for a person, then you must have a story.
Maugham is such a person, he has the same attitude towards many things and people in the world. So the chemical reaction he showed in this collection of essays is roughly equal to the following formula:
(A person captured by human weakness + writing talent and hard work) × Maugham-style gossip research and precise expression = a vivid image of a master.
Lively and delightful.
Does some pleasure, then, amount to immorality?
of course not.
Maugham recommended these dozens of masterpieces, and he confessed the joy they brought him; the presentation of trivia and gossip did not weaken his insight into the literary value of the works. “As an excellent novel creator, Maugham has angles and emotions that critics cannot obtain. His evaluation of novels is profound and unique, and he never flatters blindly.” (Luo Changli)
For example, “Wuthering Heights”, which is considered by some people to be earth-shattering and crazy love, through his research on Emily Bronte, he first thinks that she is the author, and from her life, he believes that there are indeed writers who can completely pass their own ’s bold imagination creates characters out of thin air, and the perfect match for the sadist and masochist pair is the seemingly shy female writer herself, a double embodiment of all wildness, rage, frustrated lust and hopeless jealousy inside.
In this kind of reading, the person who obtains lasting happiness is you, me, and Maugham.
So he contributed the title of our book today in the article of the same name “Reading should be a kind of enjoyment”:
He writes: “After the golden years of life you find that there are very few activities in which you can gladly engage. Except chess and crossword puzzles, there is hardly any game that you can play alone. But reading is different. It doesn’t bother you in the slightest. There is no other activity like reading that you can start at any time, read for as long as you want, and stop when someone comes to you. There is no other entertainment. Cheaper than reading, as your happy days at the public library and the pleasurable experience with cheap editions of books show. The habit of reading can build you a sanctuary from almost mortal all the sorrows.”
“I say ‘almost’ because I don’t want to exaggerate to the point that reading can soothe the pangs of hunger, or calm the blues of your unrequited love. But some good detective stories and a hot water bottle can make you care less about the discomfort of the worst cold .”
And as a reader, in my childhood, my teenage years, and now, I have read and re-read some famous books, from their bewildering fragments of “snow-capped mountains” to the sleepless nights in the whistling hills and miserable streets. Some of the saints and sinners, great lovers and treacherous politicians, some of which I still think are nonsense, while others have indeed written the ultimate expression that a mortal can achieve in words.
And in repeated conversations, in this shelter that is available everywhere, I gradually found the answers to many similar life problems.
It is a great pleasure to solve the problem.
It is helped by countless real, entangled, weak and great living souls throughout the ages to help you complete it together.
When the joy is endless.
——Written on the eve of World Book Day on April 23, 2023.