The Author’s Eye

Excerpts from Somerset Maugham’s notebook:

  • “No action is in itself good or bad, but only such according to convention.”
  • “People are never so ready to believe you as when you say things in dispraise of yourself; and you are never so much annoyed as when they take you at your word.”
  • “An action is not virtuous merely because it is unpleasant to do.”
  • “The more intelligent a man is the more capable is he of suffering.”
  • “However harmless a thing is, if the law forbids it most people will think it wrong.”
  • “I don’t know why it is that the religious never ascribe common sense to God.”
  • “All this effort of natural selection, wherefore? What is the good of all this social activity beyond helping unessential creatures to feed and propagate?”
  • “I can imagine no more comfortable frame of mind for the conduct of life than a humorous resignation.”