Samuel Butler, a Mid-Victorian Modern

Samuel Butler, a Mid-Victorian Modern

Samuel Butler, a Mid-Victorian Modern

Samuel Butler, a Mid-Victorian Modern

Excerpt

There are three main published sources of biographical material about Butler: his own works; Henry Festing Jones Samuel Butler, a Memoir, and Mrs. R. S. Garnett Samuel Butler and His Family Relations. Of these the first two are of primary and equal importance since, though Butler's works abound in biographical detail, it is only when disentangled from fiction and controversy, completed and coherently arranged by Jones that this becomes utilizable as the essential foundation for interpretation and criticism. Mrs. Garnett's book adds some correspondence and personal communications not published elsewhere and the stimulus of a divergent point of view. There is also a large mass of unpublished matter--notes and correspondence and Butler's account of his friendship with Jones--not at present accessible, some of which will probably be published, but which is unlikely to contain any revelations necessitating a reconstruction of the picture of Butler to be drawn from what we already know. It was Jones's opinion that in the correspondence and notes published in the Memoir and The Note Books he had given everything of importance and that what remained was trivial or repetitive.

Henry Festing Jones died in the fall of 1928. A year before, I had met him in London and had several talks with him about Butler. I wish to record my grateful memory of his interest in this book, which was then only an intention, and of his generous cordiality and helpfulness.

I wish to thank Mr. W. E. Heitland of St. John's College, Cambridge, for his kindness in sending me reprints of his articles on Dr. Butler and Dr. Kennedy with permission to quote, and for several helpful suggestions and personal reminiscences of Butler.

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