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In the context of a discussion of Edmund Wilson's unfair but influential critique of Maugham:
This critical judgment has often led to a certain element of guilt in the minds of those who study and enjoy Maugham's works. To read Maugham, according to Wilson's position, labels one a "half-serious" reader and thus places one outside the critical establishment; to denigrate Maugham allies oneself with the critical powers that be. This guilt by association causes, inevitably, a defensive position in Maugham studies. Browsing a list of titles, we see "In Defense of Maugham," "The Case for Somerset Maugham," "Is It All Right to Read Somerset Maugham?" and Maugham: A Reappraisal. As Archie K. Loss points out, "too many of Maugham's admirers ... begin on a defensive note," and because of Wilson and his allies this is necessarily so.