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Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition Mass Market Paperback – Jan 2 2007


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Classics; 1 edition (Jan. 2 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451530179
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451530172
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.1 x 17.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #246,932 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"The modern writer who has influenced me the most." - George Orwell

"One of my favourite writers." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"A writer of great dedication." - Graham Greene


From the Trade Paperback edition. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

From the Back Cover

"The modern writer who has influenced me the most." - George Orwell

"One of my favourite writers." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

"A writer of great dedication." - Graham Greene


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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First Sentence
THE day broke grey and dull. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ian Vance on Feb. 1 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'Of Human Bondage' is precisely that: a seminal text focused upon the varied enslavements man subjects himself to, be they poverty, or ego, or religion, or pride, or classism, or art, or of the emotional and physical impulse that combine to create that insidious agent, love...'Of Human Bondage' smolders white-hot against the murky abstractions that congest the philosophic heart; it is a lodestone, sear and boiling, in the stagnant fen of mortal affairs.
A semi-autobiography of Somerset, 'Of Human Bondage' depicts the formulative years of one Philip Carrey, who is orphaned at an early age and cursed with a deformed leg. Raised in a classic middle-class English household, Philip goes to school, drops out of school, questions the existence of God, wanders to Germany and France, tries his hand at painting, attends a doctorial college. Though weak-willed and sensitive to the extreme about his leg, Philip nonetheless displays a lucid perspective about the events that occur around him and the people that populate his world; Somerset's subtle, sometimes cynical, often deadpan personality comes forth brilliantly, without ever resorting to preaching or needless melodrama.
For me, the most difficult part of the text concerns Phillip's doomed relationship with the waitress Mildred, whom he falls into a pathetic love/hate affair. The character of Mildred is so obnoxious and the details of their relationship so noxious I barely continued on from her introduction...but persisted, realizing the overall importance to the narrative.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "cmerrell" on June 22 2003
Format: Paperback
Somerset Maugham's sweeping epic unfolds over a term of twenty five or so years corresponding to the end od the Victorian era. Phillip Carey an orphan is raised by his Aunt and Uncle, an Anglican clergeyman. Phillip is ultra sensitive about his deformed foot and his Uncle's indifference. When Phillip turns to adulthood he turns his back on the Church, much to the dismay of his uncle and loving Aunt. He first tries his luck as an accountant and fails miserably. He then takes his inheritance and goes to Paris to study painting. He discovers that he only has marginal talent and returns to England to study medicine.
It is while in medical school that the most compelling part of the novel comes to life. Phillip falls miserbly in love with Milldred, an ill tempered and morally corrupt woman of a much lower class than Phillip. Mildreds descent into the abyss very nearly brings Phillip with her. Phillip finally finds himself when he befreiends a typesetter and his family and Phillip yearns for the simple and happy life that the family enjoys.
The novel is Dickens like in its deaths and depressive environs. The plight of a Paris classmate is the most poingnent of the various sub-plots. Phillip Carey is truly a Dickens like hero who chases forbidden love. The reader agonizes as Phillip is abused over and over again by Mildred. Of Human Bondage is worth the 800 pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tracy H. Slagter on June 14 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a classic Bildungsroman -- one of those wonderful books that allows the reader snapshots into the protagonist's life as he grows from a child into a man. Because of the nature of such novels, I found the beginning of the book quite tedious and uninteresting. In fact, it wasn't until about page 300 (when Phillip Carey, the novel's subject, is in Paris) that I felt I was really "hooked" on the story. After that point, however, I found it enjoyable to put the pieces together in the book, and to figure out how Phillip's childhood and strange adolescence made him into the man he became.
The one piece of the puzzle that never quite fit in is Mildred, the rather disgusting object of Phillip's obsession. At first, I kind of liked her for her cheekiness. As Phillip's passion for her grew, however, so did my distaste for her -- I found myself muttering warnings to Phillip under my breath each time he extended himself to her. Mildred is a unique character, however, simply because she's revolting; I didn't expect her to become so prominent in Phillip's life, because I always anticipated he'd be attracted to someone kind and lovely (like a Thomas Hardy female character). She is just one of many interesting twists in this book.
I also really enjoyed the "motherly" theme of the book. Phillip's journey through life begins without a mother, he inherits an inadequate aunt as a mother-figure, he encounters a passionless mother in Mildred, finds admirable and pitiable motherly qualities in Mrs. Athelny, and ends up with a woman who is always described as "maternal." I found it interesting to follow that thread throughout the book.
I was surprised by the ending because it didn't really seem to fit in with the rest of Phillip's life. However, upon re-reading the section of Phillip's "epiphany" about life, it all seems to work out correctly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Of Human Bondage is the must read of the confession genre. It details Maugham's life loosely in events but his emotionality to a tee. The reader feels that they are living his life right along with him; feeling what he feels and seeing what he sees.
Before reading this book it may be helpful to read a brief bio of Maugham so it's easier to see the parallels and the symbolism that he employs throughout the work which bridge the gaps between the fiction and the reality.
The most interesting and emotionally difficult portions of the book to read are those when Philip is experiencing pain and grief through his relationship with Mildred. The account of this relationship is by far the most powerful writing in the book because it is the most raw and honest. It is not hard to imagine the author, and or yourself, in a similar situation feeling the exact pain and anger that his fictitious character tries to weave his way through.
Maugham is certainly not the best writer I have ever read. His prose is straight forward and not to dynamic but what he lacks in showmanship he more than makes up for in this ability to observe the range of human emotions that all people feel at some point in their life. The themes of lose and hardship are plentiful through this book, and many people get hung up them, but I think that the true point is Maugham's desire to show that it all comes out in the wash. That humans are resilient animals and the pain of yesterday is forgotten with the joy of today.
This is no doubt a classic piece of literature that deserves not only reading but study.
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