Further Extracts from the Note-Books of Samuel Butler

Further Extracts from the Note-Books of Samuel Butler

Further Extracts from the Note-Books of Samuel Butler

Further Extracts from the Note-Books of Samuel Butler

Excerpt

Early in life Samuel Butler acquired the habit of carrying a Note-Book and of writing down in it anything he wanted to remember; it might be something he heard someone say, more often it was something he said himself. Or perhaps it was the germ of a passage in whatever book he happened to be writing at the moment. The contents of these pocket Note-Books were subsequently copied into larger books -- at first called C.P.B. (commonplace books).

The main series of Note-Books as they now exist may be said to date from 1874 (see Butler's preface to vol. i, p. 17 post). Thereafter they underwent constant revision, re-copying, and indexing. In March, 1891 there began a grand final revision of the notes written between 1874 and 1890. This revision occupied Butler till March, 1899 and was a first charge on his time at the British Museum each day. It was an arduous business, because notes belonging to 1891-1899 had to be duly edited and copied simultaneously with the revision of the earlier notes. The notes end in 1902.

As I am frequently asked what exactly the Note- Books are; what they look like; and to what length they extend, I take this opportunity of describing the nine manuscript volumes from which the printed selection of 1912 and the further selection now published, as well as the pieces published in Butleriana (Nonesuch Press, 1932), are drawn.

First, then, there is the main series of Note-Books called by Butler at the beginning of volume i, 'My Notes Rewritten'. This consists of 6 volumes measuring about 10 ¼ x 8 ¼ inches. These volumes are made up . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.