Of Human Bondage (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best novels of all time
"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."
Originally published in 1915, Of Human Bondage is a potent expression of the power of sexual obsession and of modern man's yearning for freedom. This classic bildungsroman 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."
With an Introduction by Gore Vidal
Commentary by Theodore Dreiser and Graham Greene
Praise for Of Human Bondage (Modern Library 100 Best Novels)
A superb storyteller - one of the very best in our language—Daily Mail
The modern writer who has influenced me most—George Orwell
Maugham has given infinite pleasure and left us a splendour of writing which will remain for as long as the written English word is permitted to exist—Daily Telegraph
This semi-autobiographical novel, set at the end of the 19th century, gripped me from the start with its tale of the life of Philip Carey. Its depiction of how a man can become enslaved by an unsuitable love is unsparing—Christopher Simon Sykes, The Week