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The Way of All Flesh

August 22, 2010

I’ve had this book (a great account of Victorian childhood) on my bookshelf for over 20 years without being tempted to read it. However, the name Samuel Butler has kept popping up on a regular basis of late, and, as I like to note signs and portents, I pulled the book from the topshelf of the big bookcase and have started it. I’m up to p. 6 and I really like it so far.

Samuel Butler came to Canterbury, NZ in January 1860 on the Roman Emperor. He travelled into the high country on the far side of the Rangitata River (he described the riverbed as “that torrent pathway of desolation”) and established Mesopotamia and then Erewhon station. Some people might recognise the latter name. Everybody in the English-speaking world should know that’s almost ‘nowhere’ backwards. And yes, it is a book also, one that Butler wrote. It’s on my list.

(Butler was against ‘mental muddle, self-deception and false compromise in society’. He was a Lamarckian and also thought that Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ was written by a woman.)



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