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Of human bondage av W. Somerset Maugham
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Of human bondage (utgåvan 1963)

av W. Somerset Maugham

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygDiskussioner / Omnämnanden
7,521127916 (4.07)1 / 466
From a tormented orphan with a clubfoot, Philip Carey grows into an impressionable young man with a voracious appetite for adventure and knowledge. His cravings take him to Paris at age eighteen to try his hand at art, then back to London to study medicine. But even so, nothing can sate his nagging hunger for experience. Then he falls obsessively in love, embarking on a disastrous relationship that will change his life forever.… (mer)
Medlem:jcm1
Titel:Of human bondage
Författare:W. Somerset Maugham
Info:Penguin in association with Heinemann, 1963.
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:Ingen/inga

Verksinformation

Människans slaveri av W. Somerset Maugham (Author)

  1. 10
    Pappa Goriot av Honoré de Balzac (Sylak)
    Sylak: More wicked females preying on foolish and easily dominated men.
  2. 10
    David Copperfield av Charles Dickens (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Bildungsroman: the education of a young man.
  3. 00
    Twenty Thousand Streets Under the Sky av Patrick Hamilton (Sylak)
    Sylak: In many ways Jenny (Midnight Bell) reminds me of Mildred.
  4. 01
    Victoria av Knut Hamsun (JGKC)
  5. 26
    Of Human Bondage [1934 film] av John Cromwell (cao9415)
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» Se även 466 omnämnanden

Started this in fall 2021, but just did not find the story compelling. I had read a biography of Maugham online and the book seemed a mere rehash.
  FKarr | Oct 18, 2021 |
This is a puzzling book. Rated as Maugham's finest, it combines some superb writing with a puzzling portrayal of the lead character falling enduringly in love with someone he despises, and who despises him in return.
First, the writing - mostly wonderful and evocative. As one example, his pen picture of the Athelny family is a joy to read, and, you get the feeling, was a joy to the author in the writing.
Now, Mildred - I struggle to understand this relationship. Philip despises her, but falls in love with her. She despises him, and pushes him away, when she isn't using him or his money. The trope of playing hard to get has been around for centuries, but this pushing away is based on a mutually shared disgust, spread over 500 pages. I fail to understand the point Maugham is trying to make here. And as this relationship is at the core of the book, I was unable to enjoy the book as much as it otherwise deserved. ( )
  mbmackay | Sep 15, 2021 |
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
When this book started it easily hooked me. Maugham's style is evocative and approachable. He's like Dickens in how he can paint a picture as a friend would when telling a tale. It doesn't feel like he's actively creating a world around us and instead he's just allowing us to experience it with him.

The character of Philip is so thoroughly human that you cannot help feeling anxious for him. As with any mortal, he is just as likely to make ugly mistakes as he is happy endings. It's this ability to sympathize with him that makes this such a great book. At first I was only allowing myself to read about 50 pages a day, to save it. Yesterday I finished over 300 pages, a gulp. It simply wasn't okay for me to allow Philip to finish up his story on his own. I couldn't walk away from him.

It's likely because we get to know Philip so well, through Maugham's endless descriptions, that we are drawn in. With the wealth of encounters and situations, it's only when you reach the end that you can say with some certainty which moments were important and congratulate yourself that you knew that all along. ( )
  ednasilrak | Jun 17, 2021 |
I've put off reading W. Somerset Maugham for a long time, for two rather idiosyncratic (and perhaps superficial) reasons. The first was my general unease around British 'society' novels, which appear deeply grounded in the mechanics of the class system (regardless of whether, on a case-by-case basis, this proves to be a fair suspicion or not). As a British working-class lad travelling through life on often unsteady socio-economic ground – "watch[ing] your life slide out of view," as Jarvis Cocker once put it – I'm instinctively opposed to the casual snobbery, petty conceit and idle condescension often present in upper-middle-class and aspirant middle-class novels in my country, whether written in 1815, 1915 or the present day (say hello, Sally Rooney). I'm not a class warrior; in fact, I often shy away from kitchen-sink material too. It's just not what I look for in my reading hobby. I look for either escapism or deep literary themes, and I don't find such things in repressed class-based stories. Such a characterisation would be unfair to pin on Maugham – whose book Of Human Bondage I promise I will soon begin to discuss – but the point I'm trying to make is that the titles which can be ring-fenced under this admittedly broad banner make me feel queasy, and I tend to avoid them entirely.

The second reason I had avoided Maugham was due to an arch put-down of the author by Christopher Hitchens, reproduced in Arguably, a collection of essays which was my first real exposure to Hitch. I'm aware that it is ridiculous to put too much stock in one man's opinion, particularly on something as subjective – or, more accurately, idiosyncratic – as literary taste, but Hitchens' writing was some of the first I read in my early twenties as I started to take my literary journey more seriously. That book, Arguably, prompted me to read Orwell, Nabokov, Hilary Mantel, the King James Bible and – for my which I am particularly grateful – the Flashman novels by George MacDonald Fraser. Suffice to say, I put great stock in Hitchens' opinions (and still do), and his dismissal of Maugham, however benign, was consequently hard to shift.

Now, having finally read Maugham's most well-known novel, Of Human Bondage, I have transferred my reticence onto this review. I review everything I read and prepare for what I will write, but I dread writing reviews when, even after finishing the book, I still don't know how I feel about it. Based on past experience, I know that I will usually figure something out as I write, but I also know this is usually hard work. But mostly, the sense of dread comes from this: I always find it hard to write a review which is one of admiration, but not love.

Certainly, it is much harder for me than it is for Maugham, who writes about love, admiration, infatuation – and plenty more besides – with a sometimes cringe-inducing alacrity. Of Human Bondage follows the life of Philip Carey (almost, but not entirely, an author avatar) from orphaned infanthood all the way to his early thirties, and casts an author's cool, appraising eye over family, youth, schooling, career, money, poverty, loves, infatuations, affairs, art, and everything else a young man is bruised by as he goes about establishing himself in the world. The reason Maugham chose Of Human Bondage as a title becomes clear: everything that goes into being human is bound within the pages of this book. It is not a novel you hold, but Philip himself.

This can become formidable to try to review. Maugham's book is rather quotable, but the following passage was one I was keen to note down as I was reading:

"… on the whole the impression was neither of tragedy nor of comedy. There was no describing it. It was manifold and various; 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; lust trailed itself through the rooms with leaden feet, punishing the guilty and the innocent, helpless wives and wretched children; drink seized men and women and cost its inevitable price; death sighed in these rooms; and the beginning of life, filling some poor girl with terror and shame, was diagnosed there. There was neither good nor bad there. There were just facts. It was life." (pg. 462 – my emphasis)

In this passage, Maugham writes with more concision of the nature of his book than I could ever hope to do in this review. Consequently, I toss brevity to the side and say be damned to it, because it's worth taking the above passage as a prompt to further discussion. For one thing, take those words I emphasised – particularly the word 'diagnosed' – and the fact that the statement is a summary of Philip's time working in a hospital ward. Though Maugham's autobiographical element in Of Human Bondage is perhaps overstated (I was surprised how little his homosexuality influenced his writing here, even as a subtext), his medical background seems of great importance in his approach to the story. I have already said how this is not a novel you hold, but Philip himself, and certainly Maugham saw the experience as a purge. In his Foreword, Maugham writes of how he had been "obsessed by the teeming memories of my past life… they became such a burden to me, that I made up my mind there was only one way to be free of them and that was to write them all down on paper" (pg. 2). Maugham created a human body in words and then went about his diagnosis of its failings.

Another thing to mention is that the above lengthy passage from page 462 reminded me of Charles Dickens ("it was the best of times, it was the worst of times"). I was first reminded of Tolstoy in reading Of Human Bondage – the Russian count's War and Peace was a conscious attempt to incorporate "all of life" – but the comparison ultimately dissatisfied. Tolstoy was more literary; his book had a more regal air and was more explicitly concerned with themes – the lack of which perhaps explains why it still feels odd to approach Maugham's crowd-pleasing book with a literary appraisal. In contrast, the Dickens comparison sits well. Though there are differences between the two – Maugham has a surprising (and welcome) simplicity in his sentences, whereas Dickens was famously wordy – the two were, first and foremost, storytellers. Their strengths are in characterisation (all of Maugham's characters are excellently and compassionately drawn, even if they're only there for a single scene) and in pacing (absent any plot, Maugham's book is surprisingly engrossing for the entirety of its 700 pages). Their literary reputations developed through their success in storytelling rather than any conscious thematic questing.

There is a strange feeling which develops in a reader or reviewer when trying to assess a writer of this persuasion. In one respect, it is the lamentable (but entirely understandable) prejudice that if something is entertaining, it cannot be literary. This prejudice is wrongheaded, but difficult to surmount even for an honest admirer. And, as I wrote at the start of this review, admiration is harder for me to write about than love. I had a similar struggle with Larry McMurtry; I loved his book Lonesome Dove as entertainment, but I could also discern a literary merit. But, in contrast to more overtly literary novels, McMurtry's themes were a sort of all-pervading air, and rooted obscurely (but deeply) in his characters. I struggled to articulate it, and that was when I had love for the book; for Of Human Bondage, where there is only admiration, it is even harder.

Why admiration then, and not love? It's hard to say. In no small part, it must come down to personal preference. As I suggested at the start, I keep society novels rooted in class at arm's length and, perhaps, can never fully develop a love for one. But, moving beyond this, I also think it's in the nature of books of this type – the story- and character-driven literature of the likes of Dickens, Maugham and McMurtry – to defy literary review. Their strategy is to root their astute observations of life in their characters, rather than in structure or theme, which not only makes it damned hard to pull them out again for a review, but results in the story seeming misshapen – and lesser – when the pulling-apart is done. When I say books of this type defy review, it's not meant as an easy excuse, but rather a desire to avoid making them perishable. Putting a book whose strategy is in enjoyment and the magic of characters under a critical microscope is to subject them to something they were not designed for. It diminishes them, when surely the objective of a positive review is to commend.

Certainly, I found the most identifiable theme in Of Human Bondage – the Persian rug riddle – easy to understand and yet hard to align on a literary level. Within the story, it makes perfect sense, but it's something of a surprise to me now that I can write up my impressions of the story while scarcely mentioning it. I certainly don't feel obliged to make it the anchor of my review. In the broadest sense, it reflects within the story what I have tried to unpack in review. The book tries to establish a pattern – a narrative – among all the various things that can influence and bind a human life, and it is this which the Persian rug discussion in the book reflects.

A great virtue of this approach is that even aspects of the novel which appear to be flaws begin to be seen as advantages. When certain characters frustrate the reader – even Philip, the protagonist – this can be a sign of Maugham's effective characterisation. This is human life within the pages, and certainly there are frustrating characters in all our lives. Even with Mildred – the regular (and justified) target of a reader's hatred – you recognise that she is real. When she's there on the page, you don't feel like Maugham has let the story unravel with poor characterisation, as would be the case with a bad writer and a bad character. Rather, with her you feel you have to hold your tongue and endure, just as you do in real life whenever you see a friend, male or female, mooning over some classless slut or bluffing half-wit. Sometimes you hate Philip and sometimes you root for him. You are pulled every which way – and by following this in his narrative, Maugham shows you some of the powers and limiters which are in place over a human life.

This is not to say there aren't some drawbacks to the book. While some of Philip's earlier relationships are memorable (Miss Wilkinson, Miss Price), Maugham often had the advantage of me when he reintroduced or referred to characters I had not thought about for hundreds of pages. I would become muddled as to who the likes of Hayward or Clutton were, and thought perhaps there's a good reason Dickens chose monikers like Pumblechook and Magwitch over more non-descript names. I found Mildred's abrupt exit from the story dissatisfying, and while I enjoyed the happy ending more than others seem to have done, I was slightly perplexed by its ambiguity. I lacked the sense of momentousness that I usually feel when I finish a large literary tome.

I did, however, indeed see it as a happy ending. Philip, in being bound all his life by various forces and experiences, is now free. Having recognised he is free from obligation in the circumstances presented at the end, he chooses to be bound by them anyway. He wants human bondage, rather than romantic but uncertain wanderlust. In assessing the ending, we should recall something said much earlier by Cronshaw (who is also the one to present the Persian rug riddle):

"The illusion which man has that his will is free is so deeply rooted that I am ready to accept it. I act as though I were a free agent. But when an action is performed it is clear that all the forces of the universe from all eternity conspired to cause it, and nothing I could do could have prevented it." (pg. 238)

When it is delivered on page 238, this is merely an interesting philosophical discourse between Philip and Cronshaw. But by the end of the book, it has the weight of 700 pages behind it. Philip has lived thirty years of experience and decision, and has reached a point in the final pages where he feels free. And yet, it is clear to us that everything that has happened – all the forces of the universe, perhaps – has carried them there. Having grown in maturity, and overcome the terror of unemployment and poverty, he recognises the value of domestic security and contentment over restless dream-chasing and adventure. This is a bildungsroman, and Philip has now come of age.

Maugham, it seems, is often criticised for his lack of originality, and certainly, for most of the book the author appeared to be held back in this by the limitations of the bildungsroman format. After all, no young man, however lucid, has ever had a thought that had not already been thought by millions of young men before him. The book could appear, on the surface, to be a parlour game of characters – an almost superficial crowd-pleaser. But the way the story had been framed was key. Everything Philip has experienced in life influences his decision in the final pages. Just as that decision, added to the ranks of every previous decision, will influence the next one. A human life is an ongoing story. Here, the criticisms of Maugham's supposed lack of originality lose their thrust, because whilst from the outside a life can look just the same as any other life, when you are immersed in one – an individual life – you begin to see the small, accumulative things which direct it down one path or another. Every human life is original, if only by degrees.

Having overcome my reluctance to review Of Human Bondage, I now find myself in the contrary position of being reluctant to end the review. This is, by necessity, a very long novel and, to paraphrase Maugham, I am ashamed to make it longer by writing a review of it. But it is a book you can't be short about; to understand something with such scope you need to be immersed in it at length. "He did not know how wide a country, arid and precipitous, must be crossed before the traveller through life comes to an acceptance of reality" (pg. 135). Cronshaw tells us that the meaning of life is worthless unless you discover it yourself (pg. 237), and he expands on this with his Persian rug riddle. The preceding review is my attempt to discover it myself, using – as all literature should be used – the artist and his work as a lens.

Does it mean something that Mildred is the one to destroy Philip's Persian rug with a knife? Is it symbolic of her destructive relationship with Philip? I don't know; perhaps Maugham didn't even know. He only knew it made sense that she would – that it made sense for the characters to behave in this way within the context of their lives. That is the key to his success in Of Human Bondage. It is the strange effect of a literary writer seemingly unconcerned with literary affectation or convention, and yet being entirely conventional, accepting storytelling as the end in itself. After all, we use story to understand life. In a discussion on religion, one character argues the following:

"Perhaps religion is the best school of morality. It is like one of those drugs you gentlemen use in medicine which carries another in solution: it is of no efficacy in itself, but enables the other to be absorbed. You take your morality because it is combined with religion; you lost the religion and the morality stays behind. A man is more likely to be a good man if he has learned goodness through the love of God than through a perusal of Herbert Spencer." (pg. 497)

This is a statement as good as any on which to end this review. The statement comes from Athelny, not Philip, but we should remember the book is in large part directed by the influence various characters have on our protagonist. With its analogy, the statement recalls the medical diagnosis Maugham is making of his man. The author and protagonist share "the power of self-analysis", described as a "vice, as subtle as drug-taking" (pg. 273). And it is a vice at times; the book is often frustrating and sickening in the wretchedness of its characters. But the statement also hints at the entire purpose of the novel; in telling a story, the author teaches us something about life, and we are more likely to have a good read when the teachings are carried in the story. Of Human Bondage is a long book and difficult to appraise, but I can only conclude that Maugham got the dose right. ( )
1 rösta MikeFutcher | Jun 15, 2021 |
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» Lägg till fler författare (46 möjliga)

Författarens namnRollTyp av författareVerk?Status
Maugham, W. SomersetFörfattareprimär författarealla utgåvorbekräftat
Arbonès, JordiÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Barata, AntônioÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Hastings, SelinaInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Juan, Enrique deÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Kirkham, MichaelIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Pantaleoni, LuisaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Peccinotti, HarriCover photographermedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Peli, CarlaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Salvatore, AdaÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Salvatorelli, FrancoÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Schwabe, RandolphIllustratörmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Smiley, JaneInledningmedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Whitney, Thomas P.Översättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
Wollebæk, PerÖversättaremedförfattarevissa utgåvorbekräftat
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The day broke grey and dull.
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Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading: he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of every day a source of bitter disappointment.

... he was beginning to realize that he was the creature of a God who appreciated the discomfort of his worshippers.

He satisfied his conscience by the more comfortable method of expressing his repentance only to the Almighty.

Of course schools are made for the average. The holes are all round, and whatever shape the pegs are they must wedge in somehow. One hasn't time to bother anything but the average.

In schools the rather stupid boys who work always do better than the clever boy who's idle.

You know, there are two good things in life, the freedom of thought and the freedom of action. In France you get freedom of action: you can do what you like and nobody bothers, but you must think as anybody else. In Germany you must do what everybody does, but you may think as choose. They're both very good things. I personally prefer the freedom of thought. But in England you get neither: you're ground down by convention. You can't think as you like and you can't act as you like. That's because it's a democratic country. I expect America's worse.

But one mark of a writer's greatness is that different minds can find in him different opinions.

Perhaps his taciturnity hid a contempt for the human race which has abandoned the great dreams of his youth and now wallowed in sluggish ease; or perhaps these thirty years of revolution had thought him that men are unfit for liberty, and he thought that he had spent his life in the pursuit of that which was not worth the finding. Or maybe he was tired out and waited only with indifference for the release of death.

He was so young, he did not realize how much less is the sense of obligation in those who receive favours that in those who grant them.

... when feeling is the gauge you can snap your your fingers at logic, and when your logic is weak that is very agreeable.

... he felt that in putting into plain words what the other had expressed in paraphrase, he had been guilty of vulgarity.

'St. Augustin believed that the earth was flat and that the sun turned around it.'
'I don't know what that proves.'
'Why, it proves that you believe with your generation. Your saints lived in an age of faith, when it was practically impossible to disbelieve what to us is positively incredible.'
'Then how d'you know that we have the truth now?'
'I don't.'
[...]
'I don't see why the things we believe absolutely now shouldn't be just as wrong as what they believed in the past.'
'Neither do I.'
'Then how can you believe in anything at all.'
'I don't know.'
[...]
'Men have always formed gods in their own image.'
[...]
'I don't see why one should believe in God at all.'

Faith had been forced upon him from the outside. It was a matter of environment and example. A new environment and a new example gave him the opportunity to find himself. [...] The religious exercises which for so many years had been upon him were part and parcel of religion to him.
[...]
Suddenly he realized that he had lost also that burden of responsibility which made every action of his life a matter of urgent consequence. He could breath more freely in a lighter air. He was responsible only to himself for the things he did. Freedom! He was his own master at last. From old habit, unconsciously he thanked God that he no longer believed in him.

It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.

He was a man who saw nothing for himself but only through a literary atmosphere, and he was dangerous because he had deceived himself into sincerity. He honestly mistook his sensuality for romantic emotion, his vacillation for the artistic temperament, and his idleness for philosophic calm. His mind, vulgar at its effort at refinement, saw everything a little larger than life size, with the outlines blurred, in a golden mist of sentimentality. He lied and never knew that he lied, and when it was pointed out to him said that lies are beautiful. He was an idealist.

Like all week men he laid an exaggerated stress on not changing one's opinion.

But art is a luxury. Men attach importance only to self-preservation and the propagation of their species. It is only when these instincts are satisfied that they consent to occupy themselves with the entertainment which is provided for them by writers, painters, and poets.

He had pondered for twenty years the problem whether he loved liquor because it made him talk or whether he loved conversation because it made him thirsty.

'By George, I believe I've got genius.'
He was in fact very drunk, but as he had not taken more than one glass of beer, it could have been due only to a more dangerous intoxicant than alcohol.

Art [...] is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.

The Almighty can hardly be such a fool as the churches make out. If you keep His laws I don't think He can care a packet of pins whether you believe in Him or not.

The illusion which man has that his will is free is so deeply rooted that
I am ready to accept it.

I refuse to make a hierarchy of human actions and ascribe worthiness to some and ill-repute to others. The terms vice and virtue have no signification for me. I do not confer praise or blame: I accept. I am the measure of all things. I am the centre of the world.

But are you under the impression that men ever do anything except for selfish reasons?

You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognize the inevitable selfishness of humanity. You demand unselfishness from others, which is a preposterous claim that they should sacrifice their desires to yours. Why should they? When you are reconciled to the fact that each is for himself in the world you will ask less from your fellows. They will not disappoint you, and you will look upon them more charitably. Men seek but one thing in life - their pleasure.

You rear like a frightened colt, because I use a word to which your Christianity ascribes a deprecatory meaning. You have a hierarchy of values; pleasure is at the bottom of the ladder, and you speak with a little thrill of self-satisfaction, of duty, charity, and truthfulness. [...] It is pleasure that lurks in the practice of every one of your virtues. Man performs actions because they are good for him, and when they are good for other people as well they are thought virtuous: if he finds pleasure in giving alms he is charitable; if he finds pleasure in helping others he is benevolent; if he finds pleasure in working for society he is public-spirited; but it is for your private pleasure that you give twopence to a beggar as much as it is for my private pleasure that I drink another whiskey and soda. I, less of a humbug than you, neither applaud myself for my pleasure nor demand your admiration.

People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.

Criticism has nothing to do with the artist. It judges objectively, but the objective doesn't concern the artist.

We paint from within outwards - if we force our vision on the world it calls us great painters; if we don't it ignores us; but we are the same. We don't attach any meaning to greatness or to smallness. What happens to our work afterwards is unimportant; we have got all we could out of it while we were doing it.

Oh, my dear fellow, if you want to be a gentleman you must give up being an artist. They've got nothing to do with one another. You hear of men painting pot-boilers to keep an aged mother - well, it shows they're excellent sons, but it's no excuse for bad work. They're only tradesmen. An artist would let his mother go to the workhouse.

There is nothing so degrading as the constant anxiety about one's means of livelihood. I have nothing but contempt for the people who despise money. They are hypocrites or fools. Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five. Without an adequate income half the possibilities of life are shut off. The only thing to be careful about is that you do not pay more than a shilling for the shilling you earn. You will hear people say that poverty is the best spur to the artist. They have never felt the iron of it in their flesh. They do not know how mean it makes you. It exposes you to endless humiliation, it cuts your wings, it eats into your soul like a cancer. It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one's dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank, and independent. I pity with all my heart the artist, whether he writes or paints, who is entirely dependent for subsistence upon his art.

I see no talent in anything you have shown me. I see industry and intelligence. You will never be anything but mediocre.

It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late.

I daresay one profits more by the mistakes one makes off one's own bat than by doing the right thing on somebody's else advice.

Follow your inclinations with due regard to the policeman round the corner.

He found that it was easy to make a heroic gesture, but hard to abide by its results.

But age is a matter of knowledge rather than of years;

I shouldn't mind marrying, but I don't want to marry if I'm going to be no better off than what I am now. I don't see the use of it.

You know, I don't believe in churches and parsons and all that [...] but I believe in God, and I don't believe He minds much about what you do as long as you keep your end up and help a lame dog over a stile when you can. And I think people on the whole are very nice, and I'm sorry for those who aren't.

Life wouldn't be worth living if I worried over the future as well as the present. When things are at their worst I find something always happens.

...he did not think he had been more selfish than anyone else...

It's the simplest thing in the world to have an affair with a woman [...] but it's a devil of a nuisance to get out of it.

There is nothing so terrible as the pursuit of art by those who have no talent.

There's always one who loves and one who lets himself be loved.

One's always rather apt to exaggerate the passion one's inspired other people with.

"Oh, it's always the same," she sighed, "if you want men to behave well to you, you must be beastly to them; if you treat them decently they make you suffer for it."

It's not very pleasant being in love.

It doesn't matter what a man does if he's ready to take the consequences.

He had heard people speak contemptuously of money: he wondered if they had ever tried to do without it. He knew that the lack made a man petty, mean, grasping; it distorted his character and caused him to view the world from a vulgar angle; when you had to consider every penny, money became of grotesque importance: you needed a competency to rate it at its proper value.

"Thing I've always noticed, people don't commit suicide for love, as you'd expect, that's just a fancy of novelists; they commit suicide because they haven't got any money. I wonder why that is."
"I suppose money's more important than love," suggested Philip.
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From a tormented orphan with a clubfoot, Philip Carey grows into an impressionable young man with a voracious appetite for adventure and knowledge. His cravings take him to Paris at age eighteen to try his hand at art, then back to London to study medicine. But even so, nothing can sate his nagging hunger for experience. Then he falls obsessively in love, embarking on a disastrous relationship that will change his life forever.

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