Of Human Bondage

Of Human Bondage

by W. Somerset Maughm

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Overview

Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maughm

After he is told by a Parisian artist that he possesses little artistic talent, would-be painter Philip Carey returns to London and enters medical school. Painfully self-conscious about his clubfoot, Philip flirts awkwardly with Mildred Rogers, a Cockney tearoom waitress whom his fellow student, Cyril Dunsford, has "discovered." Although Mildred treats him rudely, Philip returns to the tearoom and coaxes her to accept a dinner date. During the dinner, Mildred continues her cold, bored behavior and refuses Philip a goodnight kiss. She then breaks a theater date with him in order to see Emile Miller, a loud but well-to-do womanizer. Because of his growing obsession with the waitress, Philip fails his mid-term exams, but determines to propose marriage to her. As Philip presents her with a ring, Mildred tells him that she is engaged to another man, whom Philip later discovers is Miller. To help him forget Mildred, Philip is introduced to Norah, a romance writer, who showers him with love. In spite of his own desires to return Norah's love, Philip ends their relationship when a pregnant Mildred, who has been deserted by the already married Miller, shows up on his doorstep. After her baby is born, Mildred betrays Philip with Harry Griffiths, another student, but eventually is abandoned by him. Philip, meanwhile, meets pretty Sally Athelny, the daughter of a former patient, who encourages him to visit their large family. Months later, a penniless Mildred returns to Philip with her baby and moves in with him. Distressed by Philip's sudden lack of affection, Mildred explodes with fury one night and accuses him of being a laughable, "gimpy-legged monster." She then destroys all of his paintings and burns a stack of bonds, which Philip's uncle had sent him for tuition. Broke, Philip is forced to quit school, but before he leaves, Dr. Jacobs operates on him and rids him of his clubfoot. Eventually the unemployed Philip is taken in by the Athelnys and given a job in a store. Soon after, Philip receives a beseeching letter from Mildred, who has lost her baby and contracted tuberculosis. Determined to resist Mildred, Philip gives her a little money and departs. Then, with an inheritance from his uncle, he finishes medical school and contracts to be the physician on a cruise ship. Before he is to sail, however, Philip learns of Mildred's death and, at last liberated, decides to stay in London and marry the devoted Sally.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940016774640
Publisher: Romeo Publications
Publication date: 03/30/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 266,712
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Popular British novelist, playwright, short-story writer and the highest-paid author in the world in the 1930s, Somerset Maugham graduated in 1897 from St. Thomas' Medical School and qualified as a doctor, but abandoned medicine after the success of his first novels and plays. During World War I he worked as a secret agent and in 1928 settled in Cap Ferrat in France, from where he made journeys all over the world. Maugham's spy novel "Ashenden; or The British Agent" (1928) is partly based on his own experiences in the secret service. In making the transition from secret agent to writer, Maugham carried on in the tradition of such classic writers as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson and Daniel Defoe to such contemporary writers as Graham Greene, John le Carr�, John Dickson Carr, Alec Waugh and Ted Allbeury. Maugham's skill in handling plot is compared by critics to that of Guy de Maupassant. In many of Maugham's novels the surroundings are international and the stories are told in a clear, economical style with a cynical or resigned undertone. Although Maugham was successful as an author he was never knighted and his relationship with Gerald Haxton, his secretary, has been subject to speculation.

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