An Appointment with Somerset Maugham, And Other Literary Encounters

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Pleasure has not ruled all aspects of Richard Costa’s world, but books and their writers have brought innumerable hours of it to his thought-filled years. In this insightful journey through a life suffused with literature, he introduces readers to the literary figures whose paths crossed his: Somerset Maugham, H. G. Wells, Conrad Aiken, Edmund Wilson, Kingsley Amis, Dorothy Parker, Edith Wharton, and others. In these pages lie answers to questions, and questions for many answers. What did Wells fear more than the bombs during the London Blitz? What is Edmund Wilson’s favorite of all his books? What writer, after declaring his walking-stick unbreakable, watched as Ernest Hemingway broke the stick over his own head? Why is it impossible to “discover” a new book today? Readers who accompany Costa on his journey of the mind and heart will have the opportunity to experience the vicarious pleasures of a tea, a chat, and a good read in the light of literary stars.

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