Of Human Bondage

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Modern Library, 1999 - Fiction - 611 pages
52 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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Cecilturtle - LibraryThing

Although quasi-interminable, I really enjoyed this novel. With a strong tea and lots of time, I was able to dive into Carey's life: his passions, mistakes, character faults and qualities. Maugham ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - questbird - LibraryThing

A tale of a young man's life which captures modern Western existence. Philip Carey, a middle-class but not wealthy orphan, grows to manhood. He has what appears to him a shameful disability (a club ... Read full review



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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.

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