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W. Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage” Quotes (34 Quotes)


  • On the earth, satellite of a star speeding through space, living things had arisen under the influence of conditions which were part of the planet's history; and as there had been a beginning of life upon it, so, under the influence of other conditions, there would be an end: man, no more significant than other forms of life, had come not as the climax of creation but as a physical reaction to the environment.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • A thing that had always struck her about the child was that he seemed so collected. She had never seen him cry. And now she realized that his calmness was some instinctive shame of showing his feelings; he hid himself to weep.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • What d'you suppose I care if I'm a gentleman or not? If I were a gentleman I shouldn't waste my time with a vulgar slut like you.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • I don't think that women ought to sit down at table with men. It ruins conversation and I'm sure it's very bad for them. It puts ideas in their heads, and women are never at ease with themselves when they have ideas.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • People ask you for criticism, but they only want praise.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")


  • And then he felt the misery of his life.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • You think pleasure is only of the senses; the wretched slaves who manufactured your morality despised a satisfaction which they had small means of enjoying.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • It is clear that men accept an immediate pain rather than an immediate pleasure, but only because they expect a greater pleasure in the future. Often the pleasure is illusory, but their error in calculation is no refutation of the rule. You are puzzled because you cannot get over the idea that pleasures are only of the sense; but, child, a man who dies for his country dies because he likes it as surely as a man eats pickled cabbage because he likes it.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • Philip got up and knelt down to say his prayers. It was a cold morning, and he shivered a little; but he had been taught by his uncle that his prayers were more acceptable to God if he said them in his nightshirt than if he waited till he was dressed. This did not surprise him, for he was beginning to realize that he was a creature of a God who appreciated the discomfort of his worshippers.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • Art is merely the refuge which the ingenious have invented, when they were supplied with food and women, to escape the tediousness of life.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • It is cruel to discover one's mediocrity only when it is too late. It does not improve the temper.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • She had no mercy. He looked at her neck and thought how he would like to jab it with the knife he had for his muffin. He knew enough anatomy to make pretty certain of getting the carotid artery. And at the same time he wanted to cover her pale, thin face with kisses.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • But Philip was impatient with himself; he called to mind his idea of the pattern of life: the unhappiness he had suffered was no more than part of a decoration which was elaborate and beautiful; he told himself strenuously that he must accept with gaiety everything, dreariness and excitement, pleasure and pain, because it added to the richness of the design.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")

  • The bright hopes of youth had to be paid for at such a bitter price of disillusionment.
    (W. Somerset Maugham, "Of Human Bondage")