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Samuel Butler Books In Order

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Publication Order of Erewhon Books

Erewhon (1872)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Erewhon Revisited (1901)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Fair Haven (1873)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Way of All Flesh (1903)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Samuel Butler Translations Books

The Iliad of Homer, Rendered into English Prose (1898)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Odyssey of Homer, Rendered into English Prose (1900)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Life and Habit (1878)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Evolution, Old and New (1879)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Unconscious Memory (1880)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Alps and Sanctuaries of Piedmont and the Canton Ticino (1881)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Luck, or Cunning, as the Main Means of Organic Modification? (1887)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Life and Letters of Dr. Samuel Butler, Head-Master of Shrewsbury School (1896)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Ex Voto (1896)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Authoress of the Odyssey (1897)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Shakespeare's Sonnets Reconsidered (1899)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God the Known and God the Unknown (1909)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1912)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Humour of Homer and Other Essays (1913)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A First Year in Canterbury Settlement (1914)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Further Extracts from the Note-Books of Samuel Butler (1934)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Family Letters of Samuel Butler, 1841-1886 (1962)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Correspondence of Samuel Butler with His Sister May (1962)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

About Samuel Butler

The English novelist and critic Samuel Butler was exceptionally well regarded during his lifetime, leaving behind a legacy still recognized today. One of the pioneering writers within his field, he would become an extremely influential author, inspiring countless writers and intellectuals to follow in his footsteps. Known for advancing atheist thought, he would have an interesting relationship with Christianity that would evolve throughout his lifetime. Many other writers and academics have speculated on his life and who he was as a person, closely examining what he had to say.

Adapting to several different schools of thought, he was a very versatile thinker, creating many different works and pieces. These works would include looking into Christian orthodoxy and studying evolutionary thought and the relatively new ideas of Charles Darwin at the time. He would also produce several different translations, including the Odyssey and the Illiad, advancing classic literature in a manner quite unlike any other. Much of his work continues to be consulted to this day, as his writing is massively influential for many different contemporary thinkers.

There’s so much at the heart of his books, and his writing still resonates with readers from all over the world. Pioneering and popularizing concepts such as ‘machine consciousness,’ he was truly a pioneer during his time as a writer. With writers discovering his work to this day, his legacy will continue to live on for a long time to come.

Early and Personal Life

Born in 1935 on the 4th of December, Samuel Butler would live until the 18th of June, 1902, whereby he would pass away in London. Growing up in Langar, Nottinghamshire, he was raised in a rectory village to the Reverend Thomas Butler, who would pressure him to undertake a career as a vicar. Experiencing an abusive childhood, he would come to heavily resent his father, moving away from Christianity, as he would come to question his faith.

Attending St. John’s College in Cambridge in 1854, he would study Classics, going on to receive a First in 1858. At first, he was set to become ordained into the Anglican clergy, but this would soon change after questioning the baptism of children and how it appeared to make little difference to someone’s morals. Turning to Charles Darwin’s relatively new at the time theory of evolution, Butler would pave the way for a new school of thought, advancing ideas behind the technological singularity as its known today.

Writing Career

The first book that Samuel Butler would go on to write was titled ‘Erewhon,’ which was a utopian science-fiction novel. Using satire as its basis, it was published in 1872, and he would soon go on to publish ‘The Fair Haven’ just one year later in 1973. Following this, he’d publish ‘Erewhon Revisited’ in 1901, and then ‘The Way of All Flesh’ published posthumously just one year after his passing in 1903.

Over the years, he produced many notable essays and articles, along with critical pieces looking at different classics and philosophies. From theology to evolution, he’d write pieces such as the 1863 article ‘Darwin Among the Machines,’ which has gone on to inspire thinkers and authors like science-fiction writers Philip K. Dick and Frank Herbert. Many academics continue to draw meaning from his work to this very day, as there’s a world of subtext buried deep within his writing just waiting to be discovered.

Erewhon

First published in 1872, this satirical work of fiction would be a science-fiction novel that would go on to pioneer some modern ideas. With the name being ‘Nowhere,’ an anagram of ‘Erewhon,’ it takes a sharp look at Victorian society and its values of the time. Brought out through the ‘Trübner and Ballantyne’ publishing imprint, it would pave the way for many science-fiction works to follow.

Looking at civilization called ‘Erewhon,’ the fictional nation appears to be a vastly developed Utopia, but this soon proves to be far from the case. Following the character of Higgs, he takes his time to relate what he sees in this vastly different land, examining its inhabitants and customs. Things are done vastly differently in Erewhon, and it appears that there are machines gaining consciousness too. Fully exploring the land, it soon transpires that it’s not all it initially appeared to be on the surface, as the very nature of technology is questioned.

This book can be considered fairly heavy, so it’s best not to step into it too lightly, but it’s definitely a rewarding experience for those who persevere. Many of its ideas and themes are still relevant to this day, and it’s no wonder that so many contemporary writers continue to be inspired by them. Looking into the concept of ‘machine consciousness’ too, it’s a book that stands the test of time, with many ideas still resonating.

The Way of All Flesh

This semi-autobiographical novel would initially be released in 1903, just one year after Samuel Butler himself would pass away. Released through the Grant Richards publishing imprint, the book itself is set between 1765 and 1863, drawing in a whole expansive time frame. It’s a more straightforward and direct novel than many of his other works but still contains many deeper ideas.

Told through the perspective of Overton, who is godfather to the main protagonist, as the story itself looks at generations of the Pontifex family. Taking place largely in the eighteenth century, it follows family relationships, such as the one between Ernest and his domineering parents. Following Ernest, it sees him develop as a man, going on to embark on theology as this develops and progresses. Dealing with his loss of faith over time, he finds himself after turning his back on the clergy and ending up in prison for a period.

Writers such as George Orwell went on to praise this book, as it provides an intimate look at familial relationships. It’s honest and straightforward, not holding back as Butler draws heavily from his own life and upbringing to help inform him. While some of it is fictionalized, it does reflect the ideas of the author well, with many of them still being relevant today.

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