I have always felt that reading should be a pleasure. Of course to get anything out of it you must give it your full attention, but to a healthy understanding there is nothing disagreeable in the activity of the intellect. It is however the business of an author to make your perusal of his work enjoyable. There are writers who have things to say that are interesting and useful for us to know, but by some unfortunate accident of nature they cannot say them with grace or elegance, so that to read them is a burden.
William Somerset Maugham in Introduction to Modern English and American Literature, 1943
William Somerset Maugham, 1934
WILLIAM SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1874–1965) attended medical school at St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, graduating in 1897. As a student he saw the dismal living conditions of the poor in London’s slums, but after graduation never practiced medicine, embarking instead on a writing career. He became one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, author of many memorable novels, plays, and short stories.