Erewhon

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Overview

In this privately published work (1872), written in the tradition of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, English novelist, essayist, and iconoclast Samuel Butler (1835-1902) describes an imaginary visit to a topsy-turvy country called Erewhon (an anagram of "nowhere"), where it is a punishable offense to be physically ill, but where criminality and immorality are looked kindly upon as treatable diseases. The English church is pilloried in the system of "Musical Banks," whose currency nobody believes in but which...
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Erewhon

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Overview

In this privately published work (1872), written in the tradition of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, English novelist, essayist, and iconoclast Samuel Butler (1835-1902) describes an imaginary visit to a topsy-turvy country called Erewhon (an anagram of "nowhere"), where it is a punishable offense to be physically ill, but where criminality and immorality are looked kindly upon as treatable diseases. The English church is pilloried in the system of "Musical Banks," whose currency nobody believes in but which everyone pretends to value. Universities teach courses on how to say nothing at great length, and all machines have been banned for fear that they will develop through evolution and enslave the citizens. In this and other classic works, including The Way of All Flesh, Butler delighted in attacking the complacency and hypocrisy of Victorian manners and religion.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781461053323
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 4/27/2011
  • Pages: 164
  • Sales rank: 1,382,031
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Samuel Butler (1835 -1902) was an iconoclastic Victorian author who published a variety of works. Two of his most famous pieces are the Utopian satire Erewhon and the posthumous novel The Way of All Flesh. He is also known for examining Christian orthodoxy, substantive studies of evolutionary thought, studies of Italian art, and works of literary history and criticism. Butler also made prose translations of The Iliad and The Odyssey which remain in use to this day. Butler belonged to no school, and spawned no followers during his lifetime. A serious but amateur student of the subjects he undertook, especially religious orthodoxy and evolutionary thought, his controversial assertions effectively shut him out from both of the opposing factions of Church and science which played such a large role in late Victorian cultural life. His influence on literature, such as it was, came through The Way of All Flesh, which Butler completed in the 1880s but left unpublished in order to protect his family. Whether in his satire and fiction, his studies on the evidences of Christianity, his works on evolutionary thought or in his miscellaneous other writings, however, a consistent theme runs through Butler's work, stemming largely from his personal struggle with the stifling of his own nature by his parents, which led him on to seek more general principles of growth, development and purpose: "What concerned him was to establish his nature, his aspirations and their fulfillment upon a philosophic basis, to identify them with the nature, the aspirations, the fulfillment of all humanity - and more than that - with the fulfillment of the universe . . . His struggle became generalized, symbolic, tremendous." The form that this search took was principally philosophic and - given the interests of the day - biological: "Satirist, novelist, artist and critic that he was, he was primarily a philosopher," and in particular a philosopher who sought the biological foundations for his work: "His biology was a bridge to a philosophy of life which sought a scientific basis for religion and endowed a naturalistically conceived universe with a soul." Indeed, "philosophical writer" was ultimately the self-description Butler himself chose as most fitting to his work.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

    The book is good..

    The book is fine, but I ordered a Penguin used copy and did NOT receive a Penguin. It's a great book, but be careful when ordering from individual sellers.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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