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Of Human Bondage (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – January 2, 2007
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“The modern writer who has influenced me the most.”—George Orwell
“One of my favorite writers.”—Gabriel García Marquez
From the Inside Flap
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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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I have to confess my appreciation of Mildred Rogers the obsessive and destructive character who Phillip falls hopelessly in love with. A pretty teashop waitress who has visions of a high-class existence, she is flirty, a liar, cold, manipulative, and only goes with Philip when she has nothing else working for her. She is rude and insulting, and Philip constantly demeans himself while around her. She runs off with a man, gets pregnant, comes back to Philip who promptly drops a much better woman to accept her. When that doesn’t work and she abandons him again, he finally gives up on her only to have her destroy his belongings, become a prostitute and die of syphilis. Why do I like her? Because she’s the only clearing in the weeds where there are no stickers. Although despicable, she is a truly unforgettable character.
Maugham agreed somewhat with the autobiographical label, putting his wordy spin on it; “This is a novel, not an autobiography, though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention.” Huh?
Personally I prefer my classic reads to have more adventure, more lusty accounts of life. I’d rather read Dana or Verne than Austen or Bronte. So I’m glad I read “Of Human Bondage” again if for nothing more than to reaffirm my vigorous tastes.
Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
The book is written in a straight forward, simple style that moves the story along at a fast clip. Maugham consistently violates the current taboo that tells young writers to "show don't tell." Maugham tells a lot and the technique works amazingly well. The book also serves as a historical document, detailing life in London, Paris and Germany in the 1890s. Overall is a great story about people the reader really grows to care about as the plot progresses. The emphasis on story telling and the absence of literary flourishes and tricks makes this a delightful reading experience. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a big, old fashioned novel about people and ideas that matter.
Most recent customer reviews
good illumination, well kept in between readings, I...Read more
It’s one of those books that I wish I had read when I was younger.Read more