Of Human Bondage.pdf

Of Human Bondage.pdf
 

书籍描述

编辑推荐
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

名人推荐
From the Back Cover
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

媒体推荐
"A superb storyteller - one of the very best in our language" Daily Mail "The modern writer who has influenced me most" -- George Orwell "Maugham has given infinite pleasure and left us a splendour of writing which will remain for as long as the written English word is permitted to exist" Daily Telegraph "This semi-autobiographical novel, set at the end of the 19th century, gripped me from the start with its tale of the life of Philip Carey. Its depiction of how a man can become enslaved by an unsuitable love is unsparing" -- Christopher Simon Sykes The Week

作者简介
William Somerset Maugham was born in 1874 and lived in Paris until he was ten. He was educated at King’s School, Canterbury, and at Heidelberg University. He spent some time at St. Thomas’ Hospital with the idea of practising medicine, but the success of his first novel, Liza of Lambeth, published in 1897, won him over to literature. Of Human Bondage, the first of his masterpieces, came out in 1915, and with the publication in 1919 of The Moon and Sixpence his reputation as a novelist was established. At the same time his fame as a successful playwright and writer was being consolidated with acclaimed productions of various plays and the publication of several short story collections. His other works include travel books, essays, criticism and the autobiographical The Summing Up and A Writer’s Notebook.

In 1927 Somerset Maugham settled in the South of France and lived there until his death in 1965

文摘
From Carin Companick’s Introduction to Of Human Bondage Works such as Portrait of the Artist anticipated the ways that high modernism would disown traditional literary forms and concepts of representation after the war. They anticipated Ezra Pound’s famous injunction to “make it new.” But with Of Human Bondage, Maugham wanted above all to make it known. He was not interested in finding new ways of expressing meaning; he was interested in expressing meaning as plainly as he could. His aim, as he wrote in an essay years later, was “to allow nothing in my language to come between the reader and my meaning” (“Sixty-Five,” in A Traveller in Romance, p. 253; see “For Further Reading”). Wary of faddishness in literature, he had no interest in technical or stylistic innovation. “As a writer of fiction,” he said, “I go back, through innumerable generations, to the teller of tales round the fire in the cavern that sheltered neolithic man” (quoted in Swinnerton, “Somerset Maugham as a Writer,” p. 13). Certainly Maugham’s prose style honors that lineage. His sentences are modest and matter-of-fact; adjectives are used sparingly; fancy or unusual words are rarely chosen when shorter, simpler, everyday words will do. In the sturdy economy of Maugham’s prose, no word is there to look pretty or to indulge the logophile. “The most pleasing compliment I have ever received,” he wrote years later in the preface to a collection of critical essays about his writing, “came from a G.I. in the last war who . . . wrote to tell me that he had greatly enjoyed a book of mine that he had been reading because he had never had to look out a single word in the dictionary” (“Preface,” by Maugham, in The World of Somerset Maugham, p. 10). Modernist writers may have been Maugham’s contemporaries in time, but not in literary aim. And compared to their output, Of Human Bondage, with its traditional narrative progression, straightforward prose, and near-Edwardian realism, must have seemed the product of a bygone era.
To compound matters still further, most reviewers knew Maugham as a playwright, not a novelist. Though Of Human Bondage was Maugham’s ninth novel, he had for some years been pursuing a parallel career writing for the theatre. A series of drawing-room comedies beginning with the long-running Lady Frederick (1907) had brought him popularity and paychecks of a kind unknown to his peers. In 1908 four of his plays were running simultaneously on London’s West End stages, a feat no other dramatist could match. The status of Maugham the playwright was clear (and he had the glittery, A-list lifestyle to prove it), but reviewers were unprepared for this other Maugham who had withdrawn from playwriting long enough to produce a work so starkly unlike his plays.
While immediate reviews of the novel were mixed, most shared, for one reason or another, a patent detachment from the work. Gerald Gould, writing in England’s New Statesman in September 1915, described the novel as having many merits but also an “odd effect” coming from the man who had dazzled theatergoers with his smart dialogue and keen wit. Perplexed, Gould wrote himself into a tangle: “I am not sure [Maugham] has not written a highly original book. I am not even sure he has not written almost a great one.” Others found the novel less palatable. The writer of the unsigned review in the August 21, 1915, Athenaeum dismissed the novel as “a record of sordid realism” with a hero whose values are “so distorted as to have no interest beyond that which belongs to an essentially morbid personality.” In America, The Dial pronounced the novel “a most depressing impression of the futility of life.” But most reviewers were plain overwhelmed. In his January 25, 1925, New York Times piece, “After Ten Years of Of Human Bondage,” Marcus Aurelius Goodrich summed up the general attitude among both Britons and Americans in that summer of 1915 by quoting a “review” from the Pittsburgh Chronicle-Telegraph. In it, the writer confesses avoiding the novel as much as trying to take it all in:
 
The reason is that there are 648 pages of the story—300 pages too many for careful reading and candid review. But this much can be said: It opens with a funeral and ends with a wedding. As the author is one of the most successful of the younger dramatists . . . it may be taken for granted that his novel will repay the reading of it by those who have the time to do so (p. 137).
 
In fact, a great many people did have time to read the novel—at least eventually. Although Of Human Bondage did not appear on best-seller lists when it was published, demand for the book grew consistently in the years following. By 1925 Goodrich was calling it a classic. Many who have since written about Of Human Bondage have cited the role played by American writer Theodore Dreiser in the novel’s eventual recognition. In a Christmas 1915 review in the New Republic titled “As a Realist Sees It,” Dreiser took earlier reviewers to task, hailing Maugham’s “genius” and praising the work liberally. His opening sentence marks the tone of his entire piece:
 
Sometimes in retrospect of a great book the mind falters, confused by the multitude and yet the harmony of the detail, the strangeness of the frettings, the brooding, musing, intelligence that has foreseen, loved, created, elaborated, perfected, until, in this middle ground, which we call life, somewhere between nothing and nothing, hangs the perfect thing which we love and cannot understand, but which we are compelled to confess a work of art (W. Somerset Maugham: The Critical Heritage, pp. 130–131).           

As the story goes, Dreiser’s appraisal was pivotal; it effectively “rescued” Of Human Bondage by persuading other critics to look seriously at the novel and find its merits. It also seemed to spur the traditionally American appreciation of the novel.

编辑推荐
This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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