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Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham
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Of Human Bondage, published in 1915, is considered to be W. Somerset Maugham’s best work. Many believe the novel to be one of the world’s literary masterpieces. The story follows Phillip Carey from early childhood through his 30’s. Orphaned at 9, Phillip spends his early years raised by his childless aunt and uncle. His aunt tries to be a mother to Philip, but she is unsure how to behave whereas his uncle, a vicar, takes a cold disposition towards him. Philip is sent to a boarding school but his shyness and his club foot make it difficult for him to fit in. The novel follows this theme throughout as Phillip travels to Germany, France, and England, makes new acquaintances, searches for his life’s calling, and experiences romantic episodes. Mildred in particular, will leave you wondering about Phillip's obsession and passion for such a woman. More than a few of us have had “our Mildred”. The characters in Of Human Bondage are real-life with faults, qualities, and feelings that Maugham describes so vividly. It would not be unusual that we have encountered individuals with traits similar to the characters in this book. At times the emotions in this novel, so simply but purely written, will leave you either sad or happy and even perhaps, teary-eyed as the enthusiasm of youth is met with reality as Phillip tries to discover the meaning of HIS life through the dreams of others.

First Page:

OF HUMAN BONDAGE

BY

W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM

I

The day broke gray and dull. The clouds hung heavily, and there was a rawness in the air that suggested snow. A woman servant came into a room in which a child was sleeping and drew the curtains. She glanced mechanically at the house opposite, a stucco house with a portico, and went to the child's bed.

"Wake up, Philip," she said.

She pulled down the bed clothes, took him in her arms, and carried him downstairs. He was only half awake.

"Your mother wants you," she said.

She opened the door of a room on the floor below and took the child over to a bed in which a woman was lying. It was his mother. She stretched out her arms, and the child nestled by her side. He did not ask why he had been awakened. The woman kissed his eyes, and with thin, small hands felt the warm body through his white flannel nightgown. She pressed him closer to herself.

"Are you sleepy, darling?" she said.

Her voice was so weak that it seemed to come already from a great distance. The child did not answer, but smiled comfortably... Continue reading book >>


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Reviews (Rated: 4 Stars - 1 review)

May 6, 2013
A very good book, atrocious reading - 123 chapters calling somerset Maugham Somerset Maun, mispronouncing practically everything French and German, but otherwise OK


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