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Preview — Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
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Of Human Bondage
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 ...more
Of Human Bondage is a classic in every positive sense of the word. Aside from The Brothers Karamazov, it is the only book I've read, whereupon finishing, I was able to say to myself: "This novel is life itself: it contains all of its complexities, ...more
I was not surprised to learn that Maugham was homosexual, or bisexual, or trisexual – or whatever it was that he was. There are subtle hints to the fact throughout the book.
Young Philip, the central character (rather than protagonist, I think – as there is ...more
"Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of every day a source of bitter disappointment."
"Of Human Bondage" is now among my favourite books of all times, inspiring so many reflections that my copy of the book is full of scrap paper with quotes and references.
Somerset Maugham explains in his introduction that he felt compelled to write down this story as it was tormenting his memory, in order to free himself from the ghosts of the past. It is not strictly ...more
This is the story of an unforgettable fictional "character" named Philip Carey and his extremely tumultuous and tormented life from age 9 thru 30.
Poor Philip is only nine years of age when his beloved mother dies in childbirth and he is sent off to the vicarage to live with his strict, overbearing Uncle William and loving Aunt Louisa. Born with a club-foot and small for his age, Philip is shy and...more
The following is American Idol judge Nicki Minaj's critique of Of Human Bondage
Hello darling. You know that I'm completely obsessed with you right now. I just want to say first of awll that your mustache is very becoming. And that ascot gets me really hot and bothered. It totally Does! I'll be honest with you sweetie, it makes me think very naughty thoughts.
Now listen darling, I have 4 words for you: This book is everything !
Seriously, sweetie, it's on another lev-el. It's completely beyond. ...more
A story of personal growth, of the meandering paths a young man needs to take, getting astray, losing his way, only to find his own tracks again to walk towards a meaningful end. Because this is what this book is about: finding the meaning of life, the random patterns that compose the texture of happiness, of fulfillment.
Philip Carey could be ...more
First from Maugham's Self-Loathing, Chauvinistic Closet
Before discussing the title, my thoughts on this superb 1915 novel:
Reading it was a strain, slow-moving until the protagonist Philip Carey went to Paris to study art, after which I found it fascinating, then infuriating and ultimately affirming. That is to say, I loved the parts about art and Paris and his relationship with Fanny Price, the poor and talentless soul who committed suicide; I detested his main love interest (a ...more
I love that quote. It is said nearing the end of this book, and it sums up how I should feel about a couple of characters in this book. I'm glad that Phillip was more forgiving.
I'll be frank, I went into "Of Human Bondage" completely blind, and the reason this book attracted me so much was the title. I thought I was going to be reading some sexy victorian novel, but I was definitely mistaken on that front. With my mind actively curious, I just ...more
Philip is an orphan and lives in the presbytery with his uncle reverend and his aunt remained childless; life is very austere. He is sent to a religious boarding school where he learns the maliciousness of his schoolfellows that attracts his ...more
It's just a coming of age tale. I'm not even sure "tale" is the appropriate term considering how very autobiographical this ...more
The riches of the novel are in its characters – there are many of all sorts and Somerset Maugham portrays his personages with the scrupulous psychological precision. Of Human Bondage is written in the very lucid language so it is a great pleasure to read every sentence in the book.
“Insensibly he formed the ...more
“The secret to life is meaningless unless you discover it yourself.”
It took me a long time to read this story in its entirety. Perhaps that is because I was quite familiar with what the story was about, but I don’t think so. I need only reflect back on such classics as Gone with the Wind to know I can be held captive by stories even more familiar than this. Still there were sections of this story that for whatever reason did not resonate with me.
But, oh my, the writing. You know these days we ...more
I loved the parts of the novel which dealt with the Bohemian lifestyle in Paris. It was basically the stereotypical image one gets when imagining poor, struggling, artists. The characters I met in this section were among my favourites ...more
Like all men, Philip was born into this world where he wondered why ...more
I took many days to gather my scattered thoughts and utter a few words explaining how I felt while reading this book, but all I can say now is that it is the most powerful book I have read and everyone ought to read it.
Philip’s own experiences along with those of all his acquaintances will gradually lead him to solve one of the life’s most elusive enigmas which in turn could be ...more
When I read a book I seem to read it with my eyes only, but now and then I come across a passage, perhaps only a phrase, which has a meaning for me, and it becomes a part of me.
Sometimes you're needlepoint-focused, and at other times, everything is a blur. Sometimes everything around you seems tainted and ugly, and yet you see the beauty in something as simple as wet leaves falling from a tree and attaching themselves in colorful lines to each board of your backyard deck. And you wonder at the ...more
What beautifully flawed and frustrated characters Maugham created in Of Human Bondage! This book pulled me in quickly and I loved walking alongside Philip Carey, a boy born with a clubfoot and orphaned at a young age, as he struggled into adulthood. Every character in this story, whether a major player or a minor one, is so real and raw -- they are all alive and despicable in their own authentic ways.
It has sometimes seemed to me that if the author can in no way keep himself out of his work it might be better if he put in as much of himself as possible.
- William Somerset Maugham.
Of Human Bondage was written in 1915 following a philosophical theme that William Somerset Maugham was developing during his first novel. It is Maugham's semi-autobiographical novel.
Philip Carey, born with a physically deformed foot, is orphaned at a very young age. He is raised in the house of his stoic, ...more
It’s insightful but prosy and very long-winded, with characters who aren’t particularly appealing making lots of poor decisions (and I didn't even get to the biggest one! Thank you, Wikipedia plot summary).
I know this is ...more
The scene in which an other art student is found when she has hung herself in her brown dress sticks in my mind, along with the scene towards the end with the hop ...more
And also Mike and Heather for confirming how great this book is.
After reading the book, We Are Not Ourselves, and speaking how it was so character-driven, I was told how Of Human Bondage could pull some serious emotion from the characters as well. A story that is successful at building three-dimensional characters have this way of making you feel as though you are walking along with them through life, at least until this ...more
When I picked up this book, I was at first annoyed by the very slow start of it. But gradually as I moved on, I started enjoying the narration. Maugham has very strikingly captured the various facets of Philip, the protagonist, as he ...more
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His parents died early and, after an unhappy boyhood, which he recorded poignantly in Of Human Bondage, Maugham became a qualified physician. But writing was his true vocation. For ten years before his first success, he almost ...more