Of Human Bondage is a 1915 novel by W. Somerset Maugham. It is generally agreed to be his masterpiece and to be strongly autobiographical in nature, although Maugham stated, "This is a novel, not an autobiography; though much in it is autobiographical, more is pure invention." Maugham, who had originally planned to call his novel Beauty from Ashes, finally settled on a title taken from a section of Spinoza's Ethics. The Modern Library ranked Of Human Bondage No. 66 on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
In this inimitable, beloved classic—graceful, lucid and lyrical—Anne Morrow Lindbergh shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment as she set them down during a brief vacation by the sea. Drawing inspiration from the shells on the shore, Lindbergh's musings on the shape of a woman's life bring new understanding to both men and women at any stage of life. A mother of five, an acclaimed writer and a pioneering aviator, Lindbergh casts an unsentimental eye on the trappings of modernity that threaten to overwhelm us: the time-saving gadgets that complicate rather than simplify, the multiple commitments that take us from our families. And by recording her thoughts during a brief escape from everyday demands, she helps readers find a space for contemplation and creativity within their own lives.With great wisdom and insight Lindbergh describes the shifting shapes of relationships and marriage, presenting a vision of life as it is lived in an enduring and evolving partnership. A groundbreaking, best-selling work when it was originally published in 1955, Gift from the Sea continues to be discovered by new generations of readers. With a new introduction by Lindbergh's daughter Reeve, this fiftieth-anniversary edition will give those who are revisiting the book and those who are coming upon it for the first time fresh insight into the life of this remarkable woman.The sea and the beach are elements that have been woven throughout Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life. She spent her childhood summers with her family on a Maine island. After her marriage to Charles Lindbergh in 1929, she accompanied him on his survey flights around the North Atlantic to launch the first transoceanic airlines. The Lindberghs eventually established a permanent home on the Connecticut coast, where they lived quietly, wrote books and raised their family.After the children left home for lives of their own, the Lindberghs traveled extensively to Africa and the Pacific for environmental research. For several years they lived on the island of Maui in Hawaii, where Charles Lindbergh died in 1974. Anne Morrow Lindbergh spent her final years in her Connecticut home, continuing her writing projects and enjoying visits from her children and grand-children. She died on February 7, 2001, at the age of ninety-four.Reeve Lindbergh is the author of many books for both adults and children, including the memoirs Under a Wing and No More Words.
Alfred de Musset's 1832 play depicts Lorenzo de Medici, the 16th-century Florentine nobleman who killed his tyrannical cousin but did not establish a republican government afterwards and was forever disgraced by a debaucherous past. "Impressive. A sleek, stirring adaptation ... LORENZACCIO is a civic tragedy, charting the cruel decline of a formerly free city-state ... Recounted by ... playwright John Strand with clarity and directness, Musset's story of a society cowed by and despairing over its political leadership seems an apt one to tell just now. Its bitter conclusion is designed as a final dagger to the spirit ... LORENZACCIO speaks to our time, loud and clear." -Peter Marks, The Washington Post "Inherently dramatic, the stakes being so high and the game so dangerous. [Yet] humor still finds its way to the surface through Strand's script ... LORENZACCIO may be a play for our time in the way that it was in 1833. But whether we choose to see it in a modern light, the play is a masterpiece for all times." -Margaret Lawrence, The Star-Exponent "The play connects electrically and viscerally to our times ... Splendid, powerful and affecting ... Strand hits just the right mark in this almost grand guignol tale of power, politics, murder, courage and betrayal in Renaissance Italy." -Gary Tischler, The Georgetowner "If only George W Bush could have seen the gripping 19th-century French drama LORENZACCIO before being sworn in as commander-in-chief. Musset's play centers on the assassination of a tyrant. There's an occupying army detested by its citizenry. And there's the utter lack of a day-after plan once the repressive regime has been toppled, plunging the country into chaos. Sound familiar?" -Mary Carole McCauley, The Baltimore Sun "French playwright Alfred de Musset's LORENZACCIO has long been a fixture in French theater but the 1833 play is seldom performed in the U S. One chief reason is the absence of an English translation that addresses its unwieldy structure. Consider the problem fixed in this nicely accessible version from playwright John Strand. A welcome addition to American theater of one of France's cultural pillars." -Paul Harris, Variety
Moving away from the explicitly political content of his previous novels, Victor Hugo turns to social commentary in The Man Who Laughs, an 1869 work that was made into a popular film in the 1920s. The plot deals with a band of miscreants who deliberately deform children to make them more effective beggars, as well as the long-lasting emotional and social damage that this abhorrent practice inflicts upon its victims.