Somerset Maugham on friendship

I’m reading Somerset Maugham (pronounced ‘mawm’, as my English teacher was always quick to point out) at the moment, ‘A writer’s notebook’ in whcih he has collected all his thoughts as they occur over the year so that he can include those thoughts into his book. It is, as it intends to be, a wonderful insight into a writer’s (his) process. Of course, you can see where this is leading. Yes, I want to give you an excerpt 🙂 . Written when he was 18, the following on friendship:

There are two kinds of friendship. The first is a friendship of animal attraction; you like your friend not for any particular qualities or gifts, but simply because you are drawn to him. “C’est mon ami parce que je l’aime; je l’aime parce que c’est mon ami.” It is unreasoning and unreasonable; and by the irony of things it is propable that you will have this feeling for someone quite unworthy of it. This kind of friendship, though sex has no active part in it, is really akin to love: it arises in the same way, and it is not improbable that it declines in the same way.
The second kind of friendship is intellectual. You are attracted by the gifts of your new acquaintance. His ideas are unfamiliar; he has seen sides of life of which you are ignorant; his experience is impressive. But every well has a bottom and finally your friend will come to the end of what he has to tell you.

I really enjoy it when authors define emotions saying “Here, I give you the four basic human emotions”. Maugham himself later says of this that “extreme youth is apt to make general rules from single instances..”.
Although I, being cynical, would call the second kind a material friendship based on the value of what a friend can give (not everybody is stimulated by another person’s mind, dear Mr. Maugham!).
Now why did I chose this particular piece to quote?? 😛
Tomorrow, I hope to bring you my insights on a passage I read in a Walter Mosley book, and how it relates to our blog use.

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6 Comments

  1. jessy

     /  26 October, 2005

    Oh it is a bit long and I don’t have time to read!

    Reply
  2. When do we get the insightful quotes from that other book you’re reading? “Spot the dog had found a very juicy bone.” 😛

    Reply
  3. Jill

     /  27 October, 2005

    too…many…words….brain…cant….take…it…
    btw, the above is the way a guy once typed a letter to my fren to get to know her… why….we….have…no…idea…..

    Reply
  4. Very insightful, but maybe too intellectual for me, lol 🙂

    Reply
  5. Is the bit about rich friends who pay for everything in the next paragraph. They’re my favourite!

    Reply
  6. Anonymous

     /  18 November, 2005
    Reply

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