Of Human Bondage

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Penguin, Jan 2, 2007 - Fiction - 704 pages
47 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
 

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User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

A novel about growing up, making choices and then having to live with those choices. Also a long exploration of unrequited love. Profound and moving. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lkernagh - LibraryThing

EM Forster once wrote: "The final test of a novel will be our affection for it, as it is the test of our friends, of anything else that we cannot define." Good point. I have a bit of a love/hate ... Read full review

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AFTERWORD
Classic Fiction
OUTSTANDING EUROPEAN WORKS
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

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, NoŽl 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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