Books: The Moon & $3.50

One trouble with classics is that they are unread, and often thought to be unreadable. Somerset Maugham thought he could fix that. He had picked "the ten greatest novels."* But he wasn't satisfied with just picking them. Mr. Maugham, blurbed the John C. Winston Co., thought "that the classics would be more widely read ... if they were not too long or too slow in tempo." He pepped things up "by deleting long wearisome passages."

Novelist Maugham had also contributed prefaces to each volume revealing "intimate and startling details of the romantic and domestic side" of each author. The first two of...

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