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Paperback Of Human Bondage Book

ISBN: 037575315X

ISBN13: 9780375753152

Of Human Bondage

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Book Overview

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...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Couldn't read due to incredibly small print

Read the book years ago - it's very good. However, the edition I got is simply unreadable due to incredibly small print. Disappointing.

And, where do the ducks go in the winter?

So, Holden Caulfield, before being shipped to the rubber room, kept asking what happened to the ducks in Central Park in the winter. No one knew or cared. But, one thing for sure, Holden had an affinity for "Of Human Bondage," which made me wonder how a literary character who could not stay on track could actually read, comprehend, and appreciate this classic. Indeed, was Holden or, perhaps, Salinger himself a spin off of Philip Carey? The proverbial loose cannon, Philip, after having a hard time knocking around with a few women with results ranging from indifferent to catastrophic, resolves his wanderlust to marry the daughter, whom he had taken advantage of, of his best friend, and don't forget the clubfoot business. And, that, my gentle reader, is what a classic is all about. "Of Human Bondage" is on all the should read lists. The author was wildly popular and rich in his own time. You know you should read the "should read" books. So, do it and consider the relationship of this title to "Catcher in the Rye." The Wildside Press edition is well constructed and easy to hold. A nice classic package...

Maugham's masterpiece

I LOVED this book. I couldn't put it down. It's my first time to read anything of Maugham's, and has instantly gone down as one of my top ten favorites. As it tells the story of one man's life from beginning to about a midway point, it seemed to me a cross between Dickens' David Copperfield and Lawrence's Sons and Lovers - darker than DC but not quite as pessimistic as S & L. Reviewers categorize it as a story of unrequited love, but that's a significant understatement. Philip Carey, like David Copperfield, loses both of his parents young and is removed to unfamiliar territory with less-than-loving relatives (although here Philip definitely fares better than poor David). Besides the loss of his parents, Philip's primary grievance in life is the physical defect he was born with - a club foot, for which there was no treatment at the time. His deformity and the noticeable limp it forces him to walk with makes him the butt of the cruelest of taunts and tricks, and long into adulthood - even after undergoing a new surgery to partially correct it - it's a source of humiliation and despair for him, coloring a little bit of everything he touches and lives through. I think everyone can relate to Philip's childhood, teen and young adult years, though, when he struggles mightily with the same questions many of us do, especially in regards to philosophy, morality and religion. His family expects him to enter the clergy, and don't know what to do with Philip's sudden need to question and challenge the church, and in fact alter his entire foundation of belief. After leaving school and starting life as a young man out in the world, I swear I was right there with him as he yearned desperately to find his path in life, to nurture a passion for something and be good at it. He tries a desk job and hates it. He discovers a love of art and tries to turn that into a career, before finally admitting to himself that although he has some aptitude, he's not an artist at heart. Medical school is the next stop, and it's during this time that he meets Mildred, a waitress who becomes the bane of his existence and nearly destroys his life emotionally, financially, and spiritually. His relationship with her is complicated and destructive, because although in every way he's consciously aware of he actually despises her, yet deep inside he loves her desperately and has no idea why. She's coarse, not particularly attractive, and treats him with contempt and disdain except when she needs money or something else from him. A user and manipulator, she finds just about every other man acceptable except Philip. One's first instinct is to think, "Ah, he's just one of those losers who likes being treated like dirt," but it's really not quite that simple. Philip's feelings for Mildred are something he can never explain to himself or anyone else, and as readers we never fully understand it either, but we do clearly feel and lament what this dark, toxic attachment does to him. She comes

Unchain My Heart

Of Human Bondage is one of my favorite books. The best time to read it is in late adolescence, when the need to figure out who you are and how you fit in is particularly acute. But its insights into the human condition can be profitably and pleasurably absorbed at any stage of life. First published in 1915, it's a coming of age story that Maugham felt compelled to write so he could put to rest memories of his own past. Phillip Carey is a sensitive, reserved boy who bears the physical affliction of a club foot. His parents die when he's young, and he's sent to be raised by his uncle, a Vicar more concerned with his creature comforts that the emotional needs of a young boy. Tormented at school for his deformity, Phillip becomes an outsider, with the acute powers of observation that compensate the outsider for being cut out of the human herd. He flees England to study German in Heidelberg. Returning home, he becomes a clerk in a firm of Chartered Accountants, but his soul rebels against the tedium of the work. Hoping that his small talent for drawing can be developed into something larger, he goes to Paris to study art. As an art student, Phillip learns a lot about life, and enough of art to know he'll never be anything but average as a painter. Spurning mediocrity, he goes back to London and enrolls in medical school. At this point he meets Mildred, a waitress in a tea shop. Despite being very clear eyed about her flaws of character and personality, Phillip falls madly, self-destructively in love with her. Phillip has spent much of his young adult life attempting to free himself from the convention wisdom and morality of his time. He prides himself on being clear eyed about people and in control of his emotions. But his carefully erected rationalist philosophy proves powerless against his unreasoning desire. This tempestuous relationship is the beating heart of the novel, and the strongest memory most people retain about it. Some critics have expressed disappointment with the story's ending. After suffering many more trials, Phillip is finally at the point of leaving England for a life of adventure as a traveling doctor in the Orient. With his dream in his grasp, he willingly abandons it for a more conventional kind of life. But unlike Raskolnikov's abrupt conversion to Christianity at the end of Crime and Punishment, Phillip's choice of the conventional life, and a conventional romance, has been carefully prepared for by the author. For much of the book, Phillip and other characters have been debating how much free will an individual actually has. Cronshaw, a drunken poet Phillip befriends in Paris, sums it up this way: "I act as though I were a free agent, but when an action is performed, it is clear that all the forces of the universe conspired to cause it, and nothing I could do could have prevented it." Phillip is free to choose his life's course; he is also the plaything of chance and fate. Much in the novel corresp

True, honest, heartfelt masterpiece

W. Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage is one of the best novels I have ever read. The language is simple. The narration is subtle. The characters are real and display emotions and feelings everyone can identify with. The power of novel becomes apparent when you are reading it. You choke up every once a while, you smile for hours after you have finished reading certain passages, and you comprehend your own self, your woes and possibilities, better through perspectives that novel provides. Philip Carey is born with a clubfoot, and as he grows up, orphaned, he struggles with his own deformity. The initial quarter of the novel is about his growing up, and details incidents and relationships that shape our hero. He then develops a fancy of becoming a painter and travels to Paris, only to quit few years later to return to London, where he studies to become a doctor. The most engrossing part of novel starts here with the entry of Mildred, the waitress. The rest of the novel thrives on the passion of Philip, his love that carries him to the edge of self-destruction, and his coming of age. Unrequited love has never been potrayed better. Philip allows himself to become an instrument in hands of cold-hearted Mildred, who repeatedly ruins herself through absurd choices, and ruins him for not withstanding his love and care, he finds himself snubbed, ridiculed, bereft. Eventhough his reason tells him otherwise, Philip is unable to release himself from his passion for a considerable time. As is said in the novel, "But when all was said the important thing was to love rather than to be loved; and he yearned for Mildred with his whole soul." The novel is lot more than just story of Philip and Mildred, and there are other unforgettable characters. Each person Philip encounters and each friend he makes, leaves an indelible impression on him and the reader. Be it his idealist friend Hayward, who has too much promise too little product, the poet Cronshaw who dies in poverty, Fenny Price whose hard work cannot make her draw even reasonably well, his uncle and aunt whose love is both tacit and beautifully potrayed and the writer Norah who shows Philip of a caring and loving other. The most charming people in the novel are Athlneys. Athlney brings life and humor into the novel, and I think saves Philip from a total destruction. The novel really highlights the virtue that lies in a simple, happy married life and Anthlneys win over both Philip and readers with their goodness and simplicity. Thorpe Anthlney with his nine children is a jolly character, and be it his conversations or actions, he wins over our hearts outright. Philip finds love in most unexpected quarters and is surprised by how help crops up from strangers. His every experience makes him as richer as the reader becomes in reading about it. The thoughts about the meaning of life, or about love or religion or about virtue or vice, and about each aspect of life that Philip encounters are spelt out with

Like looking into a mirror...This book examines us all.

I was completely shocked to find out that how much Philip Carey, a handicapped and introspective orphan, who longs for true love and the meaning of life was a portrait of myself. Maugham has written a book that is far deeper than any other great authors have ventured to go. One might fancy himself more aware of his existence if he reads a great deal, thinks of the human condition, longs for passion, rejects materialism, seeks pleasure in art and finds daily routine and common desires boring. But Maugham shows how one might just find that the true meaning of life does not come from great authors, philosophers and absolute idealism. In fact, Maugham (through Philip's eyes) sees beauty and a sense of power from meaninglessness of our lives (We are born, we live, and we die.) Maugham lays out peneratrating examination of poets, artists, philosophers, and religious figures blinded by their ideals as well as people we choose to be family, friends and lovers. Despite his violent urges to love and his insensentivity toward women who love him, Philip remains a very sympathetic figure who we try to understand because of his lonely life. Ultimately, he triumphs. By freeing himself from his 'ideas' of love and the meaning of life painted by great artists, writers and philosopher. He finally does something that is good for HIM. If you have to read one book in your entire life, let this be the one.

Of Human Bondage Mentions in Our Blog

Of Human Bondage in The Modern Library: How a Publisher Helped Make Books More Accessible
The Modern Library: How a Publisher Helped Make Books More Accessible
Published by Theia Griffin • January 18, 2021

ThriftBooks Collectibles are special items that are rare, vintage, signed, or otherwise remarkable. This week the Collectibles team wants to highlight a wonderful book publisher imprint called Modern Library. Learn more about the history of "The Modern Library of the World's Best Books" by reading more, and maybe you'll find a new treasure while you're at it.

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