Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition

Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition

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Overview

From a tormented orphan with a clubfoot, Philip Carey grows into an impressionable young man with a voracious appetite for adventure and knowledge. His cravings take him to Paris at age eighteen to try his hand at art, then back to London to study medicine. But even so, nothing can sate his nagging hunger for experience. Then he falls obsessively in love, embarking on a disastrous relationship that will change his life forever.…

Marked by countless similarities to Maugham’s own life, his masterpiece is “not an autobiography,” as the author himself once contended, “but an autobiographical novel; fact and fiction are inexorably mingled; the emotions are my own.” And although he based Of Human Bondage on what he knew, his is an “excessively rare gift of storytelling...almost the equal of imagination itself.”*

With an Introduction by Benjamin De Mott and an Afterword by Maeve Binchy

*The Sunday Times (London)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451530172
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 01/02/2007
Edition description: 100th Anniversary Edition
Pages: 704
Sales rank: 241,941
Product dimensions: 4.13(w) x 6.88(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

William Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) studied medicine, but the quick success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth (1897), started him on his lifelong literary career, during which he would become one of the most popular English authors since Dickens. His own life, however, was more tragic, shocking, and fascinating than any novel. After his adored parents died, he grew up in a miserable vicarage and suffered from a physical handicap of which he was ashamed. During his lifetime, Maugham would marry and divorce, be sent to Russia as a spy, and entertain such celebrities as Jean Cocteau, Winston Churchill, Noël Coward, the Aga Khan, and Ian Fleming at his Riviera mansion. Among his masterpieces are Of Human Bondage, The Painted Veil, The Razor’s Edge, and The Moon and Sixpence. In addition, such works as “The Letter” and “Rain” established Maugham as a gifted short story writer.

Benjamin DeMott (1924–2005) was professor of English and the Mellon professor of humanities at Amherst College. The author of two novels, he was best known for his cultural criticism in leading periodicals and in such books as The Imperial Middle: Why Americans Can’t Think Straight About Class and The Trouble with Friendship: Why Americans Can’t Think Straight About Race.

Maeve Binchy (1940–2012) was the New York Times bestselling author of Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Tara Road (an Oprah’s Book Club Selection), Circle of Friends, Light a Penny Candle, and many other novels.

 

 

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I
(Continues…)



Excerpted from "Of Human Bondage"
by .
Copyright © 2007 W. Somerset Maugham.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

What People are Saying About This

Abraham Verghese

This is the book that first stirred my passion for medicine when I was just twelve.

From the Publisher

“The modern writer who has influenced me the most.”—George Orwell
“One of my favorite writers.”—Gabriel García Marquez

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Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
patrickgarson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Of Human Bondage is a terrific book that ably demonstrates how far the standard of popular "literary" fiction has fallen in the years since its publication. Whilst by no means an intellectual heavyweight, Maugham's magnum opus is filled with effortless characterisation and a compelling eye for detail.Phillip Carey, orphaned and saddled with a club-foot that will irrevocably shape his personality, begins life with diffident discomfort, but he is nonetheless convinced of his greatness. Over the years, Phillip travels, falls in and out of love, and searches for happiness. Maugham's plot is a leisurely affair, especially in its first half - this is in no way helped by the synopsis for this edition which succeeds in summarising 350 pages of the novel, and then implying that the book is a grand romance (it is most assuredly not). For the same reasons, the foreword should definitely be avoided until the book is finished.Despite this, the novel picks up pace from about halfway through until the ending seems to come upon you quite suddenly. We're so accustomed to the current of Phillip's life that it's actually sad to leave him, especially on the cusp of another great chapter.This illustrates Maugham's gift for characterisation. Every single person in this book is fleshed out with a real - and compassionate - eye. It's a rare treat these days to find a writer with such a gift for characterisation and Maugham sidesteps the cliches that most writers use as tools of convenience for minor characters. Though the people in Of Human Bondage will infuriate or disappoint at times, there is never a point where their actions seem inscrutable. The prose is certainly solid and a cut above most contemporary writers, but Maugham - withstanding his dialogue - is not a great stylist. His prose is largely functional rather than breath-taking. Likewise, Of Human Bondage is not an intellectual odyssey; the pages don't leave you pondering in the way that Thomas Mann does in The Magic Mountain - an ostensibly similar book that is in actuality very different. Maugham certainly attempts to, and Phillip's agonised reflections may be revelations to some, but for me the real gold comes back to those characters, and the compassionate, sophisticated eye that Maugham casts on them.Ultimately - and appropriately - this novel is a supremely human experience. Maugham has a real gift for empathy and insight into people and it's on display on every page, as is his ultimate affection for them. Like real people, this means the book sometimes wanders or seems abstruse at times. It can be self-obsessed, or pompous, or foolish or naive. But it can also be creative, compassionate, heroic, loving, tragic, hilarious and irresistible. A genuine classic, and quite different from our current critical vogue.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I know that it is considered by some to be an English classic. But it remains one of the most depressing books that I've ever read. Do you think that somewhere in the great beyond, Maugham, Dickens, and Hardy are reading to each other? A little Jude the Obscure followed by a little Hard Times Bondage?
Leosash on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of my favourite books.
CasualFriday on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
For the past few years, I have been trying to fill the gaps in my education by reading a classic book with my morning coffee. I don't generally write reviews of the classics I read. How is it helpful for one more person to write about how good Madame Bovary is? It might be more interesting to write about a classic I didn't like much, but I live in fear of sounding like those loser reviewers on Amazon who give one star to Faulkner because he's "bo-ring!"I just challenged myself to re-read Of Human Bondage, a dull, miserable, soul-deadening book, or so I remembered from my teens. What was I thinking? It's a great, page-turning story and a truly thoughtful work about a young man's pursuit of wisdom and happiness, hampered by physical and emotional disability. Philip Carey, born with a club foot and perhaps born with a congenital inability to believe himself loved, is often infuriating to the reader as he makes a series of questionable choices, including the Big One in the form of an odious woman with whom he falls in love. Many times during the narrative I wanted to yell out to the guy. Talk about emotional engagement! It's the opposite of dull.As with the last Maugham book I read, The Moon and Sixpence, there are a lot of questionable stereotypes in evidence: racial, ethnic, religious, and especially sexual. From these two books, Maugham strikes me as a true misogynist. The "bad" women in these books are horrifying, and the "good" women come across as disconcertingly bovine. Yet...what a read. It has jumped into my Top Ten Best Books Ever.
SRumzi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Breathtaking. Master of storytelling.
word_junkie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a real thinking person's book. The journey of self discovery, questioning ideologies, the influence of others in our lives and the lessons learned from mistakes are all explored beautifully in this book. I would love to go "hopping".
cestovatela on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Allegedly a classic, but I'm not sure this conveys anything unique about the human condition. Protagonist could've used a copy of She's Not That into You.
piefuchs on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautifully paced, magnificently written, and deeply nuanced story of Philip Carey's transition from selfish boyhood to the acceptance the mundane beauty of being a adult. Of Human Bondage is full of moments of self realization that create one of those rare books in which you learn about yourself through the character. Although the title itself refers to the inexplicable infactuation that serves as the centre of the story (and frankly I found distracting...), the joys of the book are found in his moments of transition - from his realization of the meaning of his aunt's love, through his youthful discovery of the magic of art and literature, to the embrace of his father's career and a simple life. One of the few books I feel compelled to read again.
cmblume on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok, you have to really, really like slow-paced novels which give far too much detail.
eheleneb3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my top five favorite books. I can¿t really tell you why¿I didn¿t read it in an English class, so I¿ve not analyzed any symbolism or anything like that, and it¿s not exactly a mesmerizing page-turner either. The story and the protagonist just really resonated with me. The story starts in London in the early 20th century when Philip Carey, the main character, is a young, club-footed boy and his mother is about to die. It follows him throughout his life as he becomes a man and faces the challenges of daily life. It is a classic, and widely considered to be Maugham¿s masterpiece.
jfslone on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What Maugham does in this book is something every author who has ever lived has striven to do. He has created a character in Philip Carey that is so vivid a reader cannot help but become attached to his every move. There was not a page (out of all 700 and some) where I did not care about Philip, or became bored with his life. As he tries to find his place in life, traveling around Europe in a variety of occupations and stations of life, all one can do is root him on, and hope for the best. The story is nearly flawless. Some of the secondary characters can become a bit trying on one's patience, but the vivacity of the story itself makes up for any shortcoming. I would recommend this book to anyone who wishes to lose them self in Edwardian England. You're in for a wonderful time!
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Walks in shirtless