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About the book
  • Published: 15 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9781841593692
  • Imprint: Everyman
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 360
  • RRP: $29.99

Of Human Bondage




Set at the end of the nineteenth century, Maugham’s semi-autobiographical novel is an unforgettable portrait of Philip Carey, an orphan with a club foot, desperate for knowledge and experience, as he struggles to find his way in a world that is as rigid as it is unforgiving.

After a lonely boyhood, and the painful ordeal of his schooldays, Philip's yearning for adventure takes him to Germany and later Paris where he tries to make his mark as an artist before returning to London to study medicine. Here, a tortured and one-sided love affair with Mildred, a vulgar yet irresistible waitress, changes the course of his life for ever.

Commenting later on the novel’s autobiographical aspects, Maugham recalled how in writing the book he mingled fact and fiction and 'found myself free from the pains and unhappy recollections that had tormented me'.However, like Dickens’s David Copperfield to which it is often compared, Of Human Bondage goes far beyond autobiography, and is Maugham’s most ambitious and unsparing novel, revealing the author’s undoubted gift for storytelling as he explores the timeless theme of human freedom - freedom to act, to think and to love.

  • Pub date: 15 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9781841593692
  • Imprint: Everyman
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 360
  • RRP: $29.99

About the Author

W. Somerset Maugham

William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King’s School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He spent some time at St. Thomas’ Hospital with the idea of practising medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, published in 1897, won him over to literature. Of Human Bondage, the first of his masterpieces, came out in 1915, and with the publication in 1919 of The Moon and Sixpence his reputation as a novelist was established. At the same time his fame as a successful playwright and writer was being consolidated with acclaimed productions of various plays and the publication of several short story collections. His other works include travel books, essays, criticism and the autobiographical The Summing Up and A Writer’s Notebook. In 1927 Somerset Maugham settled in the South of France and lived there until his death in 1965

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Praise for Of Human Bondage

“A work of genius.”

Theodore Dreiser

“In Aspects of the Novel, E.M. Forster wrote: "The final test of a novel will be our affection for it, as it is the test of our friends, of anything else that we cannot define." He might have been writing about W. Somerset Maugham's masterpiece, Of Human Bondage.”

Robert McCrum, Guardian (2014)

“I do not know of any living writer who seems to have his work so much under control.”

Evelyn Waugh

“A deeply imagined and powerfully moving novel.”

New Yorker (2010)

“Maugham, who usually cultivated a fastidious detachment, shows in this work a personal commitment that was unusual, sweeping the reader up in his own passionate intensity.”

Selina Hastings


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