Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

Of Human Bondage

subjects: Classic Fiction

Description

‘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.’ Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man’s yearning for freedom. This classic tells the story of Philip Carey, a sensitive boy born with a clubfoot who is orphaned and raised by a religious aunt and uncle. Philip yearns for adventure, and at eighteen leaves home, eventually pursuing a career as an artist in Paris. When he returns to London to study medicine, he meets the androgynous but alluring Mildred and begins a doomed love affair that will change the course of his life. There is no more powerful story of sexual infatuation, of human longing for connection and freedom. ‘Here is a novel of the utmost importance,’ wrote Theodore Dreiser on publication. ‘It is a beacon of light by which the wanderer may be guided. One feels as though one were sitting before a splendid Shiraz of priceless texture and intricate weave, admiring, feeling, responding sensually to its colors and tones.’

Excerpt

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.