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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Skull Beneath the Skin
What Buddhist burst of contemplation led to this great novel written by that "technician," W Somerset Maugham? Of all the great books of the 20th century, which one could compare with its raw nerve and sinew? Here are no word games, no playing with the chronology, no obfuscation. With the limpid prose that had become his trademark, Maugham took us by the most...
Veröffentlicht am 19. Juli 2000 von James Paris

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3.0 von 5 Sternen Just finished reading it.
Although the novel IS well written, I did not like the characters of Philip and Mildred. The only likable characters in the book are Athelny and his family. I found it generally very odd. The novel's theme seems to be that the universe has no meaning and, once that's learned, because the individual has no obligation to anything or anybody, he can appreciate the...
Veröffentlicht am 29. Dezember 1999 von cragg1747


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5.0 von 5 Sternen The Skull Beneath the Skin, 19. Juli 2000
What Buddhist burst of contemplation led to this great novel written by that "technician," W Somerset Maugham? Of all the great books of the 20th century, which one could compare with its raw nerve and sinew? Here are no word games, no playing with the chronology, no obfuscation. With the limpid prose that had become his trademark, Maugham took us by the most direct route into his own private inferno.
What in his hero Philip Carey was a clubfoot was for Maugham a painful stammer. What was Carey's public school at "Tercanbury" was Maugham's Canterbury. And, what is most interesting, what were Carey's tortured amours with the opposite sex were Maugham's tortured amours with the same sex. Yet with all the "translation" going on, the intensity of the feelings was transferred intact. The pain of Philip's on-again off-again relationship with Mildred has few equals in the literature of self-torture and self-delusion, ranking with Swann's pursuit of Odette de Crecy.
OF HUMAN BONDAGE is a big book. There are hundreds of characters; and many of the lesser characters are memorable. The ineffectual dilettante Hayward, the skeptical poet Cronshaw, the icily bland Mildred, the despairing artist Fanny Price, the treacherous Griffiths -- even the walk-on role of grumpy old Dr. South comes alive in the last few pages of the novel.
The settings are equally diffuse: London, the English countryside, Heidelberg, Paris, a Channel fishing village, and -- an amusing canard -- Toledo in Spain. (Carey is always dreaming of going there, but he never does.)
When one is young, life looks like a triumphant progress through love, fame, and wealth. There appears, however, to be an inherent weakness in the organism; and it tends to go astray more than it does forward. We give ourselves to uncaring people; we constantly meet with reverses; we see our childhood dreams trampled by money-grubbing and the quiet desperation of which Thoreau wrote.
And yet there is a spring that runs through us all. Even when it is dammed up, as Philip Carey's so often is, it can break out and rush forward, carrying everything in its path. When it happens deus-ex-machina style in BONDAGE, we are exhilarated (if not convinced). Maugham lets us down easily. He is too great and generous a writer to leave us in despair.
Maugham's own story turned out well: he died rich, at an advanced age, and full of honors. His books are still in print and read by millions. What is more, Maugham, particularly in OF HUMAN BONDAGE, showed us what lay beneath the unperturbable veneer: We saw the skull beneath the skin.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Read this book, it's truly one of the best!, 21. Juli 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Of Human Bondage (Taschenbuch)
This book is probably one of the best books I've ever read in my life, after Les Miserables and Atlas Shrugged. It's poignant and heart-rending, and beautiful all the same. The language is probably one of the best things about it, Maugham has a true gift for prose and he writes in a way that leaves you on the point of tears for poor Phillip. The fact that the novel is more or less autobiographical makes it all the more powerful, and adds to the story's beauty. Never before has someone written with such beauty of the pain and trials of being a prisoner of one's emotions, and to read this novel is to fall in love with the little boy who grows to be a man and fights with himself and with cruel society his whole life.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Klassischer - sehr kraftvoller - Entwicklungsroman, der einen nicht losläßt, 1. Februar 2008
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margarita - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Of Human Bondage (Taschenbuch)
Achtung: hier gibt es keine spannende Handlung mit Überraschungen und Effekten. Das Buch beschreibt einfach den Werdegang eines Menschen durch alle Höhen und Tiefen. In diesem Kontext spricht der Author Sozialkritik aus, beschreibt die Lebensumstände verschiedener Gesellschaftsbereiche und ist auf sehr subtile Art humorvoll. Die Hauptperson ist weder sympatisch noch unsympatisch. Fast emotionslos wird dieser Mensch Philip Carey durch all seine guten und schlechten Momente gezeichnet...und gerade dadurch steht er dem Leser sehr nahe, denn er wird einfach als Mensch in den normalen Irrungen und Wirrungen des Lebens gezeichnet.

In kraftvoller und wunderschöner Sprache wird die Handlung vermittelt: Philip Carey ist ein Junge - junger Mann - Mann, der mit 9 seine Eltern verliert, bei Verwandten groß wird und viele Wege geht ehe er sich für den Beruf des Arztes entscheidet. Er ist ein unzufriedener Jugendlicher, der sich von der Welt verkannt versteht. Als junger Mann lebt er im Ausland, er gibt sich komplett der Malerei hin zu der er sich berufen sieht, er gibt auf, er lebt in Armut, er jobbt um zu überleben. Philip Carey hat einen Klumpfuß, der ihn ein Leben lang mit Minderwertigkeitskomplexen belastet. Philip hat viele oberflächliche Freunde, mit denen man herrlich diskutieren und schwadronieren kann und einige wenige echte Freunde. Über lange Zeit dominiert die hoffnungslose und nicht erwiederte Liebe zu Mildred sein Leben. Er lässt sich völlig ausnutzen und ist ihr so verfallen, dass er es bis zur Katastrophe kommen lässt. Aber irgendwann ist auch das vorbei und das Leben geht weiter...bis am Schluss der sichere Hafen winkt. Am Ende ein Antiklimax? Vielleicht, aber an dieser Stelle kein abruptes Ende sondern der logische Abschluss einer langen Reise zu sich selbst.

Ich liebe dieses Buch, da ich mich zum Teil selbst wiedererkenne und meine Jahre des Suchens und Ankommens in dem Buch wieder aufleben lassen darf. Faszinierend ist für mich, wie modern das Buch ist. Man vergißt, daß es in Europa um 1915 spielt. Wenn man auf Stellen kommt, die das verdeutlichen ist man fast überrascht. Kurzum: es hat auch für heutige Leser nichts an Aktualität oder Glaubwürdigkeit verloren. Aber: wer mit Bildungsromanen als Kunstform nichts anfangen kann, sollte das Buch nicht in die Hand nehmen.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Simply The Best......Ever., 13. Juni 2000
This Somerset Maugham classic is a must-read. Of the hundreds of novels I have read in my years, THIS is the best. Period. While Maugham has been placed near the bottom of reading lists in literature classrooms, this enduring masterpiece shows why that is a travesty. How many critics does it take to say, "Maugham may have been the greatest storyteller ever," before people actually begin to READ him again?
"Of Human Bondage" is the story of Philip Carey up until Carey is thirty. You LIVE the life of Philip right along with him. The writing is so riveting that as you conclude, you close the book and ask yourself, "what am I going to do now"? It is easy to experience "Philip withdrawal" after finishing "Of Human Bondage." Don't let it last long though - catch more writing from the master, the great William Somerset Maugham.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen schwermut aber mitreissend, 9. Mai 2009
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition (Taschenbuch)
maugham hat mich innerhalb kürzester zeit durch alle möglichen gefühle gejagt, die mich auch bei weglegen des buches (was schwer fiel und vor dem ende selten passierte) nicht gleich losgelassen haben. Von mitgefühl für das einsame, unverstandene kind bis zur wut über sein verhalten als abhängiger, sich zum dolm seiner eigenen verirrten liebe machender, jeden selbstwertes entbehrender erwachsener,... selten war ich so sehr hin und her gerissen zwischen abneigung, zuneigung, verständnis und unverständnis zu einem romancharakter, und deswegen locker 4 sterne, denn so soll es ja sein, wenn man in ein buch eintaucht: mitleben, mitfühlen, mitweinen, mitlahcen und am liebsten mal richtig mit dem helden (?) heftig streiten können!
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A Masterpiece! An all Time Classic!, 5. September 1998
Von Ein Kunde
Of Human Bondage, the first of W Somerset Maugham's masterpieces is also considered to be his best. In this novel, through the character of Philip Carey, he comes closest he ever has to writing an autobiographical account. This book is an inextricable mix of both fact and fiction and highly reflective of life for the simple reason that its characters are drawn from real life and from those who are close to the author. The title of the book is reflective of the continuous underlying essence of the book. It talks about life where freedom is interspersed with bonding and inspite of every spirit craving to be free , there is always another part in everyone of us that binds us down to those very things that we want to be free of. The story of human bondage is but a reflection of how hapless a person can be when faced with the forces of nature much less human nature. Like in all of Maugham's novels, the main character of this novel is not a hero. He is just a normal human being, with all his faults, going through life with all the things that in fiction always appear mundane but hardly ever are so for the person who lives through them. All through the book, the beauty of the authors writing is apparent in how these very commonplace incidents are portrayed and in the power of the intrinsic interpretation of the fundamental values of life and their contradictory nature. As Philip Carey passes through the various stages of his life, the author leads us through the mass of hazy thought that defines the difference between freedom and bondage in real life and leaves us wondering whether a difference really exists. Philip is but a small child when his mother passes away and he, eager for life and love moves out of his home to begin his adventurous journey through life. Religion and God were impressed upon him in the beginning itself when he stayed with his relatives, as something to be feared and respected and not questioned. He first faces the real world of real people when he is sent to the hostel for his studies and he finds himself unable to adapt to different kinds of people. This phase both disillusions and disappoints him and his heart craves to be free of the shackles around him. He leaves for the romance of Paris, obsessed with art and beauty and with searching for the freedom of spirit. When he falls in love with a waitress who doesn't particularly care about men except for the emotional and physical support they can provide her, he plunges into a tortured and masochistic affair which very nearly ruins him. As he moves through the stages of attraction, obsession and finally indifference, he realises and matures as a person to understand more of life and of himself. The book ends rather ironically as he finds in himself feelings of affections towards the daughter of a friend. Though he realises that he is not in love with her, he also finds that after having craved for freedom all through his life, he doesn't really want to 'travel the world' anymore. Human Bondage is perhaps not all bad after all. As we pass through life, very often we find ourselves so immersed in the mundane problems of life that fail to look at the broader picture. Thoughts and problems that are the most private to us are often the most common in life. What we are going through is but a process of learning and nothing is ever going to be completely right or wrong. Perhaps every reality of life comes with its own pinch of salt. In depicting this, the author has created a true all-time masterpiece.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen One of my favorites...but why?, 27. März 2000
Von 
B. PERKINS (Denton, TX United States) - Alle meine Rezensionen ansehen
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Of Human Bondage (Taschenbuch)
I like this novel very much, but am always hard pressed to say why. Philip, the protagonist, isn't very sympathetic. The novel goes on at great length to describe several episodes that seem to be transparently taken from Maugham's own life. And I don't agree with Philip's lack of faith, although I understand it. Perhaps it has something to do with Philip's directionless nature, something most every young man can identify with. I read this first on graduating high school, wrote papers on it in grad school, and reread it again recently at the age of 34. Why? Because Philip is a very believable character. He suffers and endures, rather than swallow his pride when it would definitely be to his advantage. It's very easy to identify with someone who is so imperfect, instead of an idealized individual about whom you couldn't care less. Philip draws you in because he's so very human, flawed but purposeful, cynical yet still in possession of his dreams. Two last points: First, the novel is an _excellent_ look at London at the turn of the century. Reading this will teach you volumes about life as it was lived in this city, from its living conditions and social order to its worlds of medicine and bohemia. Second, the character of Mildred is the most callous, unfeeling individual I've ever met in print, although I've since seen many like her, both male and female, in my own life. Most likely, everyone encounters a Mildred sooner or later: better to meet her here first, where you can study her at your leisure. While I haven't found other works by Maugham nearly as interesting, this one has a special place on my bookshelf.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen A Unrequited love, of passion that is not returned in kind., 25. März 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Of Human Bondage (Taschenbuch)
"Of Human Bondage", a novel by W. Somerset Maugham, is about a man's bondage to love or passion. It depicts in a clear and unrelenting manner the thralldom of one man to a worthless woman. This story is laid in England, Germany, and France in the years between 1885 and 1905. Philip Carey is a club-foot orphan, his mother dies when Philip is at the age of nine. He then goes and lives with his Aunt and Uncle. He is sent to school, to study clergy. As a cripple he does not have an easy life at school nor in his dealings with people in general. He is a lonely, introverted boy, sensitive and intelligent. At the age of twenty five he meets Mildred. She becomes the obession of his life, and the major part of the book is devoted to his relationship with her. Even though the love is not returned, Philip will do anything for her. He looks after her even when he discovers she has become a prositute, but when Mildred turns the tables and tries to seduce him, he spurns her, and she leaves. He feels free at last. Philip's fortunes drop and he loses all his money. He works as a shopwalker, but after the death of his Uncle he inherits enough to continue his medical education. He then falls in love with the daughter of his dearest friend, and marries her. This is a brutally frank story, and a very moving one. This is not a novel to be casually read and tossed aside. I recommend this novel to College students and older audiences.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Marvelous; the quintessential bildungsroman, 28. Januar 2000
I find Maugham to be the finest of storytellers. I have read all of his short stories and many of his novels and I never cease to be amazed at his prowess at being unabashedly entertaining in all his works.
This novel is life contained between two book covers. As Maugham traces the early childhoood, teenage years, and young adulthoood of an English everyman at the end of the 19th century, we are privy to the entire range of human emotions -- jealousy, anger, greed, unrequited love and longing, fear, self-pity, passion, desire, hope .... the petty emotions as well as those that overwhelm us and, ultimately, make us slaves to the smallness of our own lives (hence the book's title).
As Maugham writes of his protagonist's stint in medical school in turn-of-the-century London, he unwittingly could be describing his own novel: "It was manifold and carious; there were tears and laughter, happiness and woe, it was tedious and interesting and indifferent; it was as you saw it; it was tumultuous and passionate; it was grave; it was sad and comic; it was trivial; it was simple and complex; joy was there and despair; the love of mothers for their children and of men for women...There was neither good nor bad there. There were just facts. It was life."
Indeed.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A gripping novel that portrays the brutal realities of life., 18. Mai 1999
Von Ein Kunde
Of Human Bondage is a beautifully written novel by W.Somerset. At first glance the book looks daunting, but once you read the first few pages you realize that it is a poetic like portrayal of Philip's journy through life. He is bound by his physical deformity and unconditional love of the irratating Mildred. At the turn of each page you can't help but feel part of Phillip as he struggles through his young life. The ending leaves you feeling rather sad for the young man even though he has the rest of his life to look forward to. The book takes you as well as Phillip on a personal journy that remains with you long after you put the book down. You learn something about your own human nature. It is a wonderful glimps into the human psyche. I recommend the book enthusiastically to anyone who has time to read it indepth.
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Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition
Of Human Bondage: 100th Anniversary Edition von W. Somerset Maugham (Taschenbuch - 2. Januar 2007)
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