Of Human Bondage

Autobiographical features

Maugham had a stammer (instead of a club foot), lost his mother early and was sent to his aunt and uncle, studied medicine, and his literature tastes coincide with ones of the main character. Although Maugham had never been an artist, he was rather interested in it. The writer possessed in his private collection works of four painters mentioned in the book: Pissarro, Sisley, Monet and Renoir. In the Summing Up, we get to know that he read Ruskin and became acquainted with plenty of European art pieces. A lot of his other works are much focused on this field: The Moon and Sixpence (main character possesses some resemblance with Paul Gauguin), he wrote an article for Life Magazine‍ '​s “Painting I Have Liked”. Of Human Bondage is, probably, the most vivid instance of the Maugham inclination towards arts. According to Stanley Archer, the book names more than thirty artists, 10 famous paintings by name and refers to many others: "Of the thirty-three artists named in the novel, over half were painters whose careers were primarily nineteenth century. Thirteen of these were French, five were English, Whistler is the only American artist named. Eleven were living at the time of the plot, and five – Carolus-Duran, Degas, Monet, Rafelli and Renoir – were living when Of Human Bondage was published in 1915".[3]


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