Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage

Book - 1992
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A club-footed orphan struggles for independence, his intellectual development and his attempt to become an artist.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1992
ISBN: 9780140185225
ISBN (Original Script): 0140185224
Call Number: FICTION MAUGHAM 1992
Characteristics: xxvii, 610 pages ; 20 cm


From Library Staff

"Of Human Bondage gives a harrowing depiction of unrequited love. Philip Carey, a sensitive orphan born with a clubfoot, finds himself in desperate need of passion and inspiration. He abandons his studies to travel, first to Heidelberg, and then to Paris, where he nurses ambitions of... Read More »

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Apr 26, 2019

"Of Human Bondage" is a work of fiction written in 1915 by British novelist, W. Somerset Maugham.

This particular story is generally agreed to be Maugham's masterpiece and to be strongly autobiographical in nature, although Maugham stated, "This is a novel, not an autobiography, though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention."

The Modern Library have ranked "Of Human Bondage" at #66 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

Jun 09, 2018

It's easy to remember how to pronounce his last name because it rhymes with "yawn." 1915's "Of Human Bondage," is, along with "The Razor's Edge," Maugham's most famous and acclaimed novel. In fact, "Bondage" was listed as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library. He doesn't seem to be widely read anymore, but his reputation is relatively intact for some reason. I've read three books by him and find him dull as dishwater. And this book is very long. I cheated and read the abridged version. My favorite review might be from Goodreads: "This book is about a guy with a club foot. His girlfriend's a b***h. S&M fans will be disappointed in the total lack of bondage. It's like a metaphor or something.

athompson10 Apr 26, 2017

Lovely. A young man's coming of age through a difficult childhood and into an adulthood of challenges and compromises.

Sep 21, 2016

Prior to reading Somerset Maugham's novel - I had already seen the 1934 and the 1964 film adaptations of his work. And what surprised me the most, of course, was how little these 2 films covered the full story of Philip Carey's life, as they only narrowly focused in on his unhappy encounter with the sluttish waitress, Mildred, and nothing else.

In this novel - The story about Philip Carey (and his clubfoot) starts off when he was just a boy of 9 - And then it continues well past the time when that tramp, Mildred, trampled all over his dignity.

Written by Maugham in 1915 - This tale of inescapable "human bondage" is a very potent and detailed account of Philip's troubled life where - (already at a very young age) - He learned all about the cruelty of others and the forked-tongued hypocrisy of religion.

Apparently - Of Human Bondage was something of a semi-autobiographical re-telling of Maugham's own life (who was 40 at the time this novel was written) - But Maugham did not have a clubfoot, and, unlike Philip, he was, in fact, homosexual.... Somerset Maugham died in 1965 at the age of 91... (*Watch video-clip*)

ArapahoeJeremiah Aug 08, 2016

This book tells the story of young Englishman Philip Carey and his growing-up process. Born with a club foot, orphaned while young, raised by his clergyman uncle and wife on a parsonage, Philip is forced to make his way in the world. We see the difficulties he faces growing up, complicated by his sensitive temperament, his deformity, and the loss of his mother. Maugham covers just about every aspect of the natural growing-up process. Philip’s recurring romantic relationship with one woman in particular, Mildred, takes up most of the book, which produces many cringeworthy scenes. The “bondage” of the title refers to our bondage to love, including an unhealthy bondage to people who are not good for us. Overall, the novel provides a wonderful account of Philip’s maturation process. Written in very straightforward, plain prose. The book is expertly plotted and planned, and includes very deep insights into human nature. Unusually frank for its day.

Jun 03, 2016

Although I enjoyed this novel it was often too wordy and the circumstances too grim. Maugham's ability to describe a character is extremely vivid and real but I sometimes felt I didn't want to know any more about an individual's depravity. Phillip's destructive infatuation with Mildred was so grim and tawdry that I kept hoping he would simply grow up and move on. I couldn't empathize with his inability to stop loving her.

Jan 05, 2016

I read this when I was living in Queens, NY. I found it very easy to follow even though it is dense, and thick books always intimidate me.

There is much resemblance to Maugham's own life in this book. You can feel the personal anguish of Phillip and the turmoil and ecstasy of relationships.

noah8956 Mar 25, 2014

Amazing! Maugham's description of Phillip Carey's love for Mildred really hit home.

Jan 14, 2014

Though the prose is old fashioned and the story is told in a linear fashion the subject matter of this book is excellent. The protagonist is well developed, the balance of the characters are developed but we only see them from Philip's viewpoint with one small exception. This novel is definitely worth reading.

Nov 05, 2013

A must-read novel, one of the greatest ever written.
Everyone can find something of themselves in Philip Carey, and can relate to his struggles as he grows into adulthood and self-acceptance.

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