Samuel Butler Author of Erewhon,(1835-1902): A Memoir - Vol. 2

Samuel Butler Author of Erewhon,(1835-1902): A Memoir - Vol. 2

Samuel Butler Author of Erewhon,(1835-1902): A Memoir - Vol. 2

Samuel Butler Author of Erewhon,(1835-1902): A Memoir - Vol. 2

Excerpt

THE Way of All Flesh was, as the reader will have observed, altered and re-written in accordance with Miss Savage's criticisms and suggestions; and so intimately was it connected with her that, after her death, Butler could not bring himself to work on it any more; nevertheless, until the end of his life, he always intended to do so. Begun in 1873 and not touched after 1885 it is one of the books--perhaps the principal book--he had in mind when, in 1898, he wrote this sentence in the account of the relations between himself and Pauli:

If in my books, from Erewhon [1872] to Luck or Cunning? [1887] there is a something behind the written words which the reader can feel but not grasp--and I fancy that this must be so-- it is due, I believe, to the sense of wrong which was omnipresent with me, not only in regard to Pauli, the Darwins, and my father, but also in regard to my ever-present anxiety about money.

In the Appendix is given a chronology of the novel and also a list of addenda. The chronology was made in the course of re-writing the book because he found he was liable to forget the dates, and so, to avoid contradicting himself, he made a statement for reference, to which perhaps he did not strictly adhere. In the addenda he put notes of things to be inserted, which were perhaps not all inserted when the time came.

In form the story is, like the Book of Job and the Odyssey , that of the good man passing through trials and coming out triumphant in the end. Ernest is sustained by faith in "a something as yet but darkly known which . . .

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