Of Human Bondage

Front Cover
Modern Library, 1999 - Fiction - 611 pages
45 Reviews
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time

"It is very difficult for a writer of my generation, if he is honest, to pretend indifference to the work of Somerset Maugham," wrote Gore Vidal. "He was always so entirely there."
        Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom.
        "Here is a novel of the utmost importance," wrote Theodore Dreiser on publication. "It is a beacon of light by which the wanderer may be guided. . . . One feels as though one were sitting before a splendid Shiraz of priceless texture and intricate weave, admiring, feeling, responding sensually to its colors and tones."

With an Introduction by Gore Vidal

Commentary by Theodore Dreiser and Graham Greene

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Breathtaking. Master of storytelling. - LibraryThing
Philip's plight (like the plot) plods along painfully. - LibraryThing
The ending was predictable, but still very sweet. - LibraryThing
... easy to read, fast, but intense and full of depth. - LibraryThing
This illustrates Maugham's gift for characterisation. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Lisa.Johnson.James - LibraryThing

I'm not sure I agree with it being the greatest novel of our time, but it WAS very good. Phillip is a boy who grows into a young man who seems to be spoiled & easily bored, & can't stick to one thing ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tercat - LibraryThing

I'm usually pretty stingy about giving 5-star ratings, but I just really enjoyed this book. The end wasn't quite as excellent as I wanted it to be, but it's hard to complain. After reading this, I want to read more of Maugham's work. His style appeals to me. Read full review

About the author (1999)

W. Somerset Maugham was born in Paris in 1874. He trained as a doctor in London where he started writing his first novels. In 1926 he bought a house in Cap Ferrat, France, which was to become a meeting place for a number of writers, artists and politicians. He died in 1965.

Bibliographic information