The Way of All Flesh (Google eBook)

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Digireads.com Publishing, Jan 1, 2004 - Fiction
25 Reviews
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) was an individualistic Victorian era writer who published a variety of works. He is also known for examining Christian orthodoxy, considerable studies of evolutionary thought, studies of Italian art, and works of literary history as well as criticism. Butler even made prose translations of "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey" which remain some of the most popular to this day. His authority on literature came through his posthumous novel, "The Way of All Flesh". Butler completed it in the 1880s but it was left unpublished until 1903 to protect his family. The novel was so modern in its time of release that it influenced a new school of writing, predominantly through its use of psychological examination and analysis of the fictional characters of the story. "The Way of All Flesh" is a satiric portrait of Butler's own childhood reflecting the worst aspects of Victorian family life: of extreme strictness, embellished godliness, and hypocrisy. It consists of mostly polemic essays in which Butler attacks the world of his childhood growing up in a clergyman's family and expresses his basic philosophy of common sense.
  

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Review: The Way of All Flesh

User Review  - Tom Fowler - Goodreads

Beautifully written prose, it is the fictional biography of an undistinguished writer who becomes independently wealthy during his young adult years. His childhood, his education, ordination and fall ... Read full review

Review: The Way of All Flesh

User Review  - Jenn Torm - Goodreads

This is a piece that is deserving of its #12 rating on Modern Library's list of 100 Best Novels. And I would readily recommend this book to a friend. The prose was very easy, though its length makes ... Read full review

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About the author (2004)

The son of a clergyman and grandson of an Anglican bishop, Samuel Butler seemed destined for a life in the church. After graduating from Cambridge, however, he spent some time in New Zealand as a sheep-rancher. When he returned to England, he settled down as a journalist and writer. He engaged in many controversies over Darwinism. Butler is best known by two satirical novels, Erewhon (1872) and The Way of All Flesh (1903). Erewhon, an anagram for "nowhere," attacked contemporary attitudes in science, religion, and social mores. The Way of All Flesh was a study of the Pontifex family in a surprisingly modern tone. Erewhon Revisited (1901) continues his attack on religion. Another work, The Fair Haven (1873), is another subtle attack on religion, presented in the guise of a defense of the Gospels, though it actually undermines them. The Family Letters is a selection from the correspondence of Butler and his father, with several letters to and from his mother and sisters and one or two other relatives. Those between Butler and his father show how close the early part of The Way of All Flesh was to the events in the son's life. A brilliant, versatile writer, Butler was one of the most searching critics of his time. Butler died in 1902.

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