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684 pages, Mass Market Paperback
First published January 1, 1915
Life seemed an inextricable confusion. Men hurried hither and thither, urged by forces they knew not; and the purpose of it all escaped them; they seemed to hurry just for hurrying’s sake.
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 everyday a source of bitter disappointment.
Philip did not surrender himself willingly to the passion that consumed him. He knew that all things human are transitory and therefore that it must cease one day or another. He looked forward to that day with eager longing. Love was like a parasite in his heart, nourishing a hateful existence on his life’s blood; it absorbed his existence so intensely that he could take pleasure in nothing else… This love was a torment, and he resented bitterly the subjugation in which it held him; he was a prisoner and he longed for freedom.
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 embarrassed by his deformity and is often lonely and pegged an outcast.
In his search for freedom and affection, OF HUMAN BONDAGE descriptively depicts Philip's various vocations, friendships, precarious love life and education.....as well as his love of books.
"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."
Throughout the reading of this complex semi-autobiographical novel, I often became so frustrated with Philip that I just wanted to shake his obsession with the vile, grungy waitress Mildred right out of him! OMGOSH.....he was so gullible and indecisive, it drove me crazy......BUT he was also a kind, likeable "character" generous to an indescribable fault, good-hearted and most of all......willing to forgive.
Originally published in 1915, this memorable classic is one hell of an "intimate tale of human relationships." What a story!
“Maugham worked assiduously to create a persona for himself in life. And the life was, according to this admirable biography, a good deal more exquisite, dramatic, torrid, and tragic than any of the works. Born and brought up in France, Maugham lost his parents when quite young and from then on was farmed out to mean relatives and cruel, monastic boarding schools. The traditional ration of bullying, beating, and buggery seems to have been unusually effective in his case, leaving him with a frightful lifelong speech impediment and a staunch commitment to homosexuality.”C. Hitchens, "Poor Old Willie," supra.
“An ideal way to “lock in” homosexual disposition is probably to spend time as a gynecologist in a slum district of London—which, astonishingly enough, is what the fastidious young man did. Though he would ultimately abandon medicine, he passed considerable time delivering babies in the abysmal squalor of Lambeth, on the south bank of the River Thames. As part of his training he witnessed cesarean births in the hospital, where death was not uncommon.”
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.
neither beautiful nor ugly, but just to be accepted in the same spirit as one accepts the changes of the seasons..
He saw what looked like the truth as by flashes of lightning on a dark, stormy night you might see a mountain range. He seemed to see that a man need not leave his life to chance, but that his will was powerful; he seemed to see that self-control might be as passionate and as active as the surrender to passion; he seemed to see that the inward life might be as manifold, as varied, as rich with experience, as the life of one who conquered realms and explored unknown lands.