Of Human Bondage
Of Human Bondage

MAUGHAM, W. Somerset. Of Human Bondage.

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Of Human Bondage, or the Strength of the Emotions

MAUGHAM, W. Somerset. Of Human Bondage. London: William Heinemann, 1915.

8vo., original blue cloth lettered in gilt on spine and upper board; [viii], 648; usual browning to endpapers, gilt on spine slightly dulled, otherwise a very good copy in contemporary cloth chemise and leather backed slipcase (a little rubbed and worn).
First UK edition signed by the author on front-free endpaper.
The coming-of-age story is based around the life of Philip Carey, a sensitive young man consumed by an unrequited and self-destructive love. Born with a clubfoot, Philip is orphaned as a child and raised by unsympathetic relatives. He is sent to a boarding school where he has difficulty fitting in, and grows up with an intense longing for love, art, and experience. After failing to become an artist in Paris, he begins medical studies in London, where he meets Mildred, a cold-hearted waitress with whom he falls into a powerful, tortured, life-altering love affair. The novel is generally agreed to be Maugham's masterpiece and to be strongly autobiographical in nature, with Philip’s malformed foot standing in for Maugham’s stutter, and the character’s painful romantic struggles inspired by the author’s own intense love affairs with both men and women. However, Maugham has also stated that "This is a novel, not an autobiography, though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention."(Barr, 1957).
Maugham, who had originally planned to call the novel Beauty from Ashes, finally settled on a title taken from a section of Spinoza's Ethics. The Modern Library ranked Of Human Bondage No. 66 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

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