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The Way Of All Flesh
     

The Way Of All Flesh

3.3 10
by Samuel Butler
 

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The Way of All Flesh is one of the time-bombs of literature," said V. S. Pritchett. "One thinks of it lying in Samuel Butler's desk for thirty years, waiting to blow up the Victorian family and with it the whole great pillared and balustraded edifice of the Victorian novel."
Written between 1873 and 1884 but not published until 1903, a year after Butler

Overview



The Way of All Flesh is one of the time-bombs of literature," said V. S. Pritchett. "One thinks of it lying in Samuel Butler's desk for thirty years, waiting to blow up the Victorian family and with it the whole great pillared and balustraded edifice of the Victorian novel."
Written between 1873 and 1884 but not published until 1903, a year after Butler's death, his marvelously uninhibited satire savages Victorian bourgeois values as personified by multiple generations of the Pontifex family. A thinly veiled account of his own upbringing in the bosom of a God-fearing Christian family, Butler's scathingly funny depiction of the self-righteous hypocrisy underlying nineteenth-century domestic life was hailed by George Bernard Shaw as "one of the summits of human achievement."
"If the house caught on fire, the Victorian novel I would rescue from the flames would be The Way of All Flesh," wrote William Maxwell in The New Yorker. "It is read, I believe, mostly by the young, bent on making out a case against their elders, but Butler was fifty when he stopped working on it, and no reader much under that age is likely to appreciate the full beauty of its horrors. . . . Every contemporary novelist with a developed sense of irony is probably in some measure, directly or indirectly, indebted to Butler, who had the misfortune to be a twentieth-century man born in the year 1835."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781434102126
Publisher:
Waking Lion Press
Publication date:
07/30/2008
Pages:
688
Product dimensions:
1.51(w) x 9.00(h) x 6.00(d)

Meet the Author

P. N. Furbank is Emeritus Professor of the Open University and author of Samuel Butler: 1835-1902. Other publications include E. M. Forster: A Life; Italo Svevo: the Man and the Writer; Unholy Pleasure: the Idea of Social Class and, most recently, Diderot: A Critical Biography.

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The Way of All Flesh (Barnes & Noble Library of Essential Reading) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don¿t agree with the ranking of this book as the 12th best English-language novel of the 20th century, but it¿s certainly worth a look. It¿s Samuel Butler¿s only novel, it¿s semi-autobiographical, and it was published posthumously. Narrated by the protagonist¿s godfather, the book follows the Dickensian life of Ernest Pontifex, from his upbringing by clueless, hypocritical parents, through his schooldays as a lackluster student, to a young adulthood of poor decisions and misplaced loyalties. One cannot help but wonder how such a man went on to translate Homer for today¿s readers. (If you have a copy of The Iliad or The Odyssey, Samuel Butler probably translated it.) The title implies the author¿s belief that everyone goes through such growing pains, and, of course, he¿s right, with the possible exception of the exceedingly good fortune that awaits him. Though not a page-turner, this book is easy to read and full of timeless, insightful observations on life.
exlibrarian More than 1 year ago
this copy includes many drop out sections and replacement of letters and words with garbled sections
donnareads911 More than 1 year ago
Classic novel and so well-written, however with its dated language and all, it took me forever to read through. I had to read chapters to get myself back in the swing of this "family" tale. This is a primer on how "not" to be a family!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
book unreadable and extremely bad customer service dealing with issue
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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