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Maugham, W Somerset - Of Human Bondage - ( Item 125524 )

Published in London by Folio Society. 2011. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Good+ slipcase. Inch tear at top of entrance of slipcase. Introduced by Selina Hastings. Illustrated by Michael Kirkham. Bound in buckram. Blocked with a design by Michael Kirkham. Set in Miller. 600 pages. Frontispiece. 11 colour illustrations. Book size: 9" 6". Somerset Maugham wrote that 'Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can hardly distinguish one from the other.' Of Human Bondage is his unsurpassed portrait of a young man's search for meaning in life. We follow Philip Carey from the age of nine: through his unhappy, orphaned childhood; his abortive attempt to be an artist in Paris; a tormented affair with a woman he loves but cannot respect; to working as a doctor and deciding 'the simplest pattern, that in which a man was born, worked, married, had children and died, was likewise the most perfect'. Set against a vividly realised backdrop, the cast of characters provide an astonishing diversity of experience: the 'refined' waitress Mildred whose descent into prostitution is so painfully chronicled; the despairing artist Fanny Price, and calm, enigmatic Sally who reminds Philip 'of a cottage garden with the dear flowers that bloom in all men's hearts'. Maugham was orphaned and bullied at school (Philip's club-foot stands in for the author's terrible stammer of which he was acutely self-conscious), then went on to study in Heidelberg and Paris. Like Philip, Maugham struggled to find his path in life and trained as a doctor amongst London's poor before writing full time. The interplay between fact and fiction is examined by Maugham's biographer, Selina Hastings in a fascinating introduction specially commissioned for this edition of the book. When Of Human Bondage was first published in 1915, Maugham was already a well-known writer whose plays were the toast of London's West End. Despite his fame, the novel so much more serious and weighty than his previous works did not initially enjoy success, but before long it was recognised for its extraordinary, sustained emotional power. Never out of print, and widely acknowledged as Maugham's masterpiece, it was listed by The Times as one of the 100 greatest English-language novels of the 20th century.

Price 25.10                 Other items you may like                 Others by the same author

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