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
About the Author
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) was an English novelist and playwright. Maugham was famous as a dramatist before he was known for his novels and short stories. His clarity of style, the perfection of his form, and the subtlety of his thought, thinly veiled by a worldly cynicism made him an international figure. Among his novels are Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence, and The Razor's Edge.
Gore Vidal is the author of many bestselling novels including Julian, Burr, Myra Breckinridge, and Lincoln. He lives in Italy.
"The modern writer who has influenced me the most." - George Orwell
"One of my favourite writers." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"A writer of great dedication." - Graham Greene