Of Human Bondage is one of the greatest novels of modern times, and it is certainly Maugham's greatest achievement. It was published in 1914, when Maugham was at the height of his creative powers. The story concerns Philip Carey, afflicted at birth with a club foot, and his passionate search for truth in a cruel world. We follow his growth to manhood, his educational progress, his first loves, and the wrenching tragedies and disappointments that life has in store for him. In some of the finest prose of the 20th century, Maugham has presented us with the timeless story of one man's search for the meaning of life.
"One of the greats"
The Great War changed everything and everyone, and Larry Darrell is no exception. Though his physical wounds from the war heal, his spirit is changed almost beyond recognition. He leaves his betrothed, the beautiful and devoted Isabel; studies philosophy and religion in Paris; lives as a monk, and witnesses the exotic hardships of Spanish life. All of life that he can find - from an Indian Ashrama to labor in a coal mine - becomes Larry's spiritual experiment as he spurns the comfort and privilege of the Roaring 20s.
"Brilliant and easy to read"
First published in 1925, The Painted Veil is an affirmation of the human capacity to grow, change, and forgive. Set in England and Hong Kong in the 1920s, it is the story of the beautiful but shallow young Kitty Fane. When her husband discovers her adulterous affair, he forces her to accompany him to a remote region of China ravaged by a cholera epidemic.
"A Joyous Realm"
In 1938 Maugham wrote, "Fact and fiction are so intermingled in my work that now, looking back on it, I can hardly distinguish one from the other." Maugham also wrote that most of his short stories were inspired by accounts he heard firsthand during his travels to the lonely outposts of the British Empire. In volume three of this series, we present all of the remaining short stories which Maugham published after World War I and which he subsequently caused to be republished in various collections.
"What a treat!"
When Cakes and Ale was first published in 1930 it roused a storm of controversy, since many people imagined they recognised portraits of literary figures now no more. It is the novel for which Maugham wished to be remembered.
"A classic worth reading"
Charles Strickland, a conventional stockbroker, abandons his wife and children for Paris and Tahiti, to live his life as a painter. While his betrayal of family, duty and honour gives him the freedom to achieve greatness, his decision leads to an obsession which carries severe implications.
"Roman a clef-abominable french artist Paul Gauguin"
The Moon and Sixpence is a fictionalized biography of the artist Paul Gauguin. Charles Strickland, a thinly veiled Gauguin, deserts his wife and children to become a painter. In Paris, he is indifferent to the friendship offered by a fellow artist, Dirk Stroeve, but it is Stroeve and his wife Blanche who take Strickland in when he falls ill. It is only a matter of time before Strickland again devastates those around him by running away with Blanche.
Philip Carey, a sensitive orphan born with a clubfoot, finds himself in desperate need of passion and inspiration. He abandons his studies to travel, first to Heidelberg and then to Paris, where he nurses ambitions of becoming a great artist. Philip's youthful idealism erodes, however, as he comes face-to-face with his own mediocrity and lack of impact on the world. After returning to London to study medicine, he becomes wildly infatuated with Mildred, a vulgar, tawdry waitress, and begins a doomed love affair.
"Good Story of a Wounded Man"
In the winter of 1919 Somerset Maugham, at the age of 45, undertook an arduous journey up the Yangtze River in China. Ever the astute observer of people and places, he wrote down his experiences and collected them into 58 exquisite vignettes which were subsequently published a few years later. No one is spared his searching intelligence, especially the company managers, salesmen, missionaries, bureaucrats, military officials and adventurers he encounters.
Of all Somerset Maugham’s novels this is the most entertaining and arguably his best ever. Rosie is a barmaid with a heart of gold and a skeleton in her closet. Maugham’s portrait of her makes his novel fairly glow with witty observations of the contemporary literary scene. Features Willie Ashenden, who resurfaces in Maugham’s Ashenden.
There’s something Constance Middleton’s friends are dying to tell her: her husband is having an affair – with her best friend! Despite their hints, Constance remains ever cool, and seemingly oblivious. Or is she? In this biting comedy of manners, marriages and mistresses, Constance – a not-so-desperate housewife - has some ideas of her own about extra-marital activity that surprise everyone in the end!
"Fun and frothy, but with a bit of a bite!"
In this tragic-comedic play, history repeats itself in marital break-ups and proposals as exes, in-laws, and offspring spend a few days at a country manor.
Winner of the 2001 Audie Award for Classic Fiction, this is an unparalleled presentation of Maugham's stories, complete with sound effects and music.
There have been few masters of the short story as popular as W. S. Maugham. His dry wit, worldweary loftiness, pungent cynicism, and penetrating powers of observation have contributed to the creation of some of the greatest short stories ever written.
"A masterful production of Maugham's short stories."
Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of this spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters: his fiancée Isabel, whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions; and Elliot Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. The most ambitious of Maugham's novels, this is also one in which Maugham himself plays a considerable part as he wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.
Winner of the 2003 Audie Award for Classic Fiction, this is an unparalleled presentation of Maugham's stories, complete with sound effects and music.
"Acute observations of man"
This is the story of Kitty Fane, the adulterous wife of a bacteriologist stationed in Hong Kong. When her husband discovers her deception, he exacts a terrible vengeance: Kitty must accompany him to the heart of a cholera epidemic in China.
"A novel about personal growth"
Renowned English surgeon Arthur Burdon is engaged to the beautiful Margaret Dauncey, who is studying art in Paris. The match is met with approval from all sides, and everyone is happy - until the mysterious Oliver Haddo enters the picture. Both Arthur and his fiancée dislike the enormously fat and eccentric Oliver but are fascinated by his stories of black magic, by his demonstrations of a power that seems inhuman. And while they scoff at his boasts, their dislike turns to loathing.
In The Moon and Sixpence, Charles Strickland is a respectable London stockbroker who decides in middle age to abandon his wife and children and devote himself to his true passion: art. Strickland's destructive desire for self-expression takes him first to Paris to learn the craft of painting, and finally to Tahiti in the South Pacific. The Moon and Sixpence remains a complex and engaging novel echoing Maugham's own struggles between artistic expression and public respectability.
"Enjoyable novel, well narrated"
In June 1917, W. S. Maugham was asked by the British Secret Intelligence Service, to undertake a special mission in Russia to support Kerensky's government. The mission failed, and two and a half months later, the Bolsheviks took control. Maugham subsequently said that if he had been able to get there six months earlier, he might have succeeded. Quiet and observant, Maugham had a good temperament for intelligence work. The writer used his spying experiences as the basis for his collection of short stories called Ashenden: Or the British Agent. They became the prototype for the modern espionage novel.