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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 by Samuel Butler - The Way of All Flesh (1903) is a semi-autobiographical novel by Samuel Butler which attacks Victorian-era hypocrisy. Written between 1873 and 1884, it traces four generations of the Pontifex family. Butler dared not publish it during his lifetime, but when it was published it was accepted as part of the general reaction against

Overview

The Way of all Flesh by Samuel Butler - The Way of All Flesh (1903) is a semi-autobiographical novel by Samuel Butler which attacks Victorian-era hypocrisy. Written between 1873 and 1884, it traces four generations of the Pontifex family. Butler dared not publish it during his lifetime, but when it was published it was accepted as part of the general reaction against Victorianism.

In 1998, the Modern Library ranked The Way of All Flesh twelfth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

The story is narrated by Overton, godfather to the central character.

The novel takes its beginnings in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to trace Ernest's emergence from previous generations of the Pontifex family. John Pontifex was a carpenter; his son George rises in the world to become a publisher; George's son Theobald, pressed by his father to become a minister, is manipulated into marrying Christina, the daughter of a clergyman; the main character Ernest Pontifex is the eldest son of Theobald and Christina.

The author depicts an antagonistic relationship between Ernest and his hypocritical and domineering parents. His aunt Alethea is aware of this relationship, but dies before she can fulfill her aim of counteracting the parents' malign influence on the boy. However, shortly before her death she secretly passes a small fortune into Overton's keeping, with the agreement that once Ernest is twenty-eight, he can receive it.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781492956945
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
10/11/2013
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.64(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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