Of Human Bondage Book Pdf ePub

Of Human Bondage

by
4.1342,311 votes • 2,862 reviews
Published 02 Jan 2007
Of Human Bondage.pdf
Format Paperback
Pages684
Edition419
Publisher Signet
ISBN 0451530179
ISBN139780451530172
Languageeng



The first and most autobiographical of Maugham's masterpieces. It is the story of Philip Carey, an orphan eager for life, love and adventure. After a few months studying in Heidelberg, and a brief spell in Paris as a would-be artist, he settles in London to train as a doctor where he meets Mildred, the loud but irresistible waitress with whom he plunges into a tortured and masochistic affair.

"Of Human Bondage" Reviews

JSou
5
Wed, 13 Jan 2010

THIS BOOK IS ABOUT A GUY WITH A CLUBFOOT HIS GIRLFRIENDS A BITCH

Kelly
- Brooklyn, NY
4
Tue, 06 Nov 2007

Has one of literature's great lines about reading:
"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."

Jasmine
- Zurich, Switzerland
5
Thu, 30 Jan 2014

I am sure you will agree with me that there are books one is better off reading when one is older and more experienced. On the other hand, there are also books one should have read 20 years earlier. For me personally, ‘Of Human Bondage’ belongs to the latter category. It had been gathering dust on my father’s bookshelf for years (in German translation) and I never thought about it. To tell you the truth, this book crossed my path again because of ‘The Goldfinch’, an impressive Pulitzer-winning Bildungsroman and one of my favorite books. I was looking for another Bildungsroman when I came across ‘Of Human Bondage’ again.
‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset W. Maugham is a classical Bildungsroman – a coming of age story, published almost 100 years ago. While reading it, I continually had to remind myself that the book is actually 100 years old. A lot of Philip’s thoughts seemed so very modern to me that I often forgot when Maugham actually wrote them. This is the story of Philip Carey, who loses his parents in early childhood. As a reader, we witness his life from early childhood until his thirties. Even though it is a third person omniscient narrative, the reader is very deeply involved in Philip’s thoughts. I read a large part of the book over the Easter holidays and was so deeply immersed in the story that Philip became almost real for me. This happens to me very rarely with a book. It is that childlike state when you forget everything around you and reality and fiction merge into one.
Of course, as in every good Bildungsroman Philip spends most of the book struggling with life’s challenges. More than once I wanted to take him under my motherly wing as he attempted to deal with religious beliefs, hindrances and, especially, relationships with women. Philip is an aesthete and a lover of literature. His love for books, literature and art comes across throughout the book and adds to the quality of storytelling:“And then beautiful things grow rich with the emotion that they have aroused in succeeding generations. That is why old things are more beautiful than modern. The “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is more lovely now than when it was written, because for a hundred years lovers have read it and the sick at heart take comfort in its lines.”(p.281)
Maugham’s rich descriptions of paintings and art in general are especially evident when his protagonist reflects on El Greco’s paintings. El Greco’s artwork used to make me feel rather uncomfortable and I was not a fan of his gloomy brushstrokes, but through Philip’s reflections Maugham opened my eyes.
“El Greco was the painter of the soul; and these gentlemen, wan and wasted, not by exhaustion but by restraint, with their tortured minds, seem to walk unaware of the beauty of the world; for their eyes look only in their hearts, and they are dazzled by the glory of the unseen. No painter has shown more pitilessly that the world is but a place of passage. The souls of the men he painted speak their strange longings through their eyes; their senses are miraculously acute, not for sounds and odours and colour, but for the very subtle sensations of the soul. The noble walks with the monkish heart within him, and his eyes see things which saints in their cells see too, and he is unastounded. His lips are not lips that smile.” (p.397)
El Greco,1595: Study of a Man
The reader accompanies Philip on his stays in Heidelberg, London and especially Paris where he enrolls in art school, convinced of his abilities as a painter. I particularly enjoyed this part of the book, when Maugham gives the reader a fascinating insight into the bohemian lifestyle of the Belle Époque. Paris and its smell, colors, people and lifestyles come alive before the reader’s eyes.
‘Of Human Bondage’ is said to be Maugham’s semi-biographical novel and I would recommend every reader to look up the writer’s life before or while reading the book. With this in mind, I was especially astonished by Philip’s relationships with women. Philip is in pursuit of beauty, but not when it comes to women. Women are either anemic, have narrow pale lips, greenish skin (!) and are flat-chested like a boy, or they are large and unsophisticated. Not very attractive, I would say. By comparison, Griffith, one of Philip’s fellow students, is described as a “tall fellow, with a quantity of curly red hair and blue eyes, a white skin, and a very red mouth”and Maugham writes that "There was a peculiar charm in his manner, a mingling of gravity and kindliness which was infinitely attractive”. Maybe I am biased, knowing that Maugham’s sexual preference was for men rather than women, but I wonder if the reader of 90 years ago picked up these hints.
That said, Philip’s relationship with Mildred (best known for its film adaption with Bette Davies in 1934), a vulgar, unworldly teashop girl he encounters during his medicine studies in London, tops everything. It is almost unbearable to read how he submits to her, how he let himself be humiliated by her. "He did not care if she was heartless, vicious and vulgar, stupid and grasping, he loved her. He would rather have misery with one than happiness with the other.”(p.308). Every time Mildred appeared in the story, my stomach literally twisted in knots. I must admit that even though these scenes are an important part of the plot and constitute the main storyline in the aforementioned film adaptation, I found it very hard to endure them. However, they are an essential part of Philip’s personal development.
Philip is a complex character. Born with a clubfoot, he always felt self-conscious. He is shy and overly sensitive. He blushes a lot (I counted 30 times). Nevertheless, he endures humiliation with a stoic steadiness. In the meantime he is often condescending. He is aware of his intellectual superiority to Mildred. As a connoisseur of literature and art, he even feels superior to his peers at Medical School.
Notwithstanding his flaws, I like Philip very much. In real life as well as in literature I have a soft spot for people who are in pursuit of beautiful things, who love literature and art. Philip is a keen observer of human behavior, both that of his entourage and his own. His train of thought, his self-exploration and subsequent conclusions on religion, philosophy and the meaning of life come easily and straightforwardly to the reader. In my opinion this is Maugham’s forte: the examination of ideas in moral terms and his portrayal of the meaning of life and religion through Philip’s eyes. The writing style is rather simple; nothing remains of the flowery or verbose prose of the Victorians (which I love by the way!). Nonetheless, the writing is powerful; it has stayed with me long after I have finished the book.
As I have already said, I wish I had read ‘Of Human Bondage’ 20 years earlier. It is certainly a book to encourage younger people to find their place in life. But even 20 years ‘too late’, the book has the power to evoke a variety of strong emotions. Why is this? Maugham provides an answer through Philip: "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 part of me...” (p.292)
‘Of Human Bondage’ did this to me.

Ahmad
- Tehran, 28, Iran
4
Thu, 07 Oct 2010

741. Of Human Bondage, William Somerset Maugham
Of Human Bondage is a 1915 novel by William Somerset Maugham. The book begins with the death of Helen Carey, the much beloved mother of nine-year-old Philip Carey. Philip has a club foot and his father had died a few months before. Now orphaned, he is sent to live with his aunt and uncle, Louisa and William Carey. ...
عنوانها: پای بندی های انسانی؛ اسارت بشر؛ اسارت بشری؛ نویسنده: ویلیام سامرست موام؛ (نشر چشمه)، تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه فوریه سال 1999 میلادی
کتاب «پای‌بندی‌های انسانی» اتوبیوگرافی نیست، اما داستانی به گونه‌ ی اتوبیوگرافی است؛ حقایق و افسانه به‌ طور جدایی ناپذیری در هم آمیخته شده‌ اند. نقل از کتاب: احساسات از آن خودم است، اما نه تمامی آن رویدادهای اتفاق افتاده‌ ای که، به توصیف آمده است. بعضی از آن‌ها، نه از زندگی خودم که به قهرمان داستان انتقال یافته، بلکه از زندگی کسانی است، که با آنان صمیمی و نزدیک بوده‌ ام. کتاب همان شد که من خواسته بودم، و هنگامی عرضه شد، که دنیا دست به گریبان جنگی وحشت‌ آفرین، و سر در گریبان رنج‌ها و بیم‌ها نهاده بود، و نمی‌توانست به سرگذشت یک شخصیت داستانی، توجهی مبذول دارد. آنگاه بود که خودم را از فشار درد و ناشادی خاطرات، و یادهایی که شکنجه‌ ام می‌دادند رهایی یافتم. سامرست موآم
عشق واقعی عشق یک طرفه است بدون هیچ چشم داشت و پاداشی. سامرست موآم
ا. شربیانی

Perry
- Mobile, AL
5
Thu, 18 Aug 2016

MISOGYNE BONDAGE
First from Maugham's Self-Loathing, Chauvinistic Closet
Before discussing the title, my thoughts on this superb 1915 novel:
Reading it was a strain, slow-moving until the protagonist Philip Carey went to Paris to study art, after which I found it fascinating, then infuriating and ultimately affirming. That is to say, I loved the parts about art and Paris and his relationship with Fanny Price, the poor and talentless soul who committed suicide; I detested his main love interest (a unilateral infatuation of the first degree) in Mildred Rogers, the Cockney waitress who used and abused him without pity, and his pathetic lapses into co-dependency on her. Thus, I was heartened by Philip's ability to finally escape the chains of fear and self-hatred caused by losing his parents young, having a clubfoot and being attached by "love" to an awful leach.
Now, to misogyne bondage:
The enterprise of comparing this novel with his other three major novels, The Painted Veil, The Moon and Sixpence and The Razor's Edge, as well as his most acclaimed short story, "Rain," has been terribly illuminating. As I contemplated, I saw a peculiar pattern in Maugham's female leads (in these works, at least) and was reminded of an essay by Christopher Hitchens that I read in his brilliant collection Arguably: Selected Essays, in which Hitchens reviewed the Maugham biography Somerset Maugham: A Life, by Jeffrey Meyers. See C. Hitchens, "W. Somerset Maugham: Poor Old Willie," The Atlantic, May 2004. After re-reading this essay and traveling back through my memory of the four novels and short story, I am convinced that Maugham was a misogynist sparked by his self-loathing as a closeted homosexual.
Consider first,

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.”
***
“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
.”
C. Hitchens, "Poor Old Willie," supra.
Reviewing each of his four major novels and his most renowned short story, one is struck by the common thread: the females are all weak, wanton and/or wicked. These women are the type of which George Bernard Shaw so mordantly quipped in his play, "Mrs. Warren's Profession": "She may be a good sort but she is a bad lot."
Mildred Rogers and Fanny Price (who only appeared briefly) from the instant novel are discussed above. In the short story, "Rain" (1921), the prostitute Sadie Thompson is violated by a missionary intent upon saving her soul and after finding the missionary dead from suicide, the narrator observes that Sadie has returned to "the flaunting quean" they had first known when coming to American Samoa. "Quean" means "a low woman; a wench; a slut."
In The Razor's Edge (1944), Sophie Macdonald, a childhood friend of the protagonist Larry Darrell, becomes an alcoholic, opium addicted "slut" after losing her husband and child to a tragic car accident. On the eve of the wedding of Larry and Sophie (whom he's trying to save from a life of debauchery), Larry's pre-war girlfriend, the wealthy, wicked Isabel (who wants Larry for herself), leads a sober, fragile Sophie back to the path of destruction by effectively handing her a bottle of expensive vodka.
In The Moon and Sixpence (1919), Blanche Stroeve, wife of a Dutch painter who is a friendly comrade of the Gaugin-based antihero, abandons her husband for "Gaugin," who quickly casts her aside once she's served her purpose as a model and short-term concubine, after which she kills herself.
Finally, in The Painted Veil (1925), Kitty Garstin Fane, the heroine, is a flighty and self-centered "low woman" who, shortly after marrying Dr. Fane, embarks upon a lurid, torrid affair lasting two years and only laughs when initially faced with Dr. Fane finding out. Notably, this is my favorite Maugham novel, probably because he gives Kitty redemption. While this may seem the exception to my thesis, I'd point out that Kitty is like the others in her sexual promiscuity, a trait that seems particularly deplorable to misogynists.
Does this take away from the brilliance of Maugham's works or mean that he doesn't remain on my list of favorite authors? No. But, I do believe that being forced by then-existing societal norms to hide his homosexuality significantly contributed to his self-loathing, in turn leading to his negative outlook toward women. Were our culture more advanced, as it is now progressing, maybe Maugham would not have felt compelled to conceal his sexual preference and would not have been so fundamentally adverse to females and, as a consequence, might have been more kind to the superior sex (IMHO) and penned novels with more positive female characters or at least given his seriously damaged female characters more redeeming arcs, such as he did in The Painted Veil.
I don't do this for a living so I cannot afford to spend any more time revising or cleaning up this review, so please forgive any errors or if I have offended anyone.

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