Erewhon And Erewhon Revisited

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Kessinger Publishing, 2005 - Fiction - 656 pages
10 Reviews
1927. Butler's satirical novels revealed his long interest in Darwin's theories of biological evolution, though he had spent a great deal of time criticizing him. Some now find these books prophetic in their discussion about machines becoming intelligent and the extent to which humans would become dependent on them, as well as their increasingly rapid development.

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Review: Erewhon, Erewhon Revisited

User Review  - Sarwar - Goodreads

Nicely written and unputdownable satire. The basic theme of the book can be applied throughout the world and across all the religion where we turn simple people into God or God's relative and start ... Read full review

Review: Erewhon, Erewhon Revisited

User Review  - Goodreads

Nicely written and unputdownable satire. The basic theme of the book can be applied throughout the world and across all the religion where we turn simple people into God or God's relative and start ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

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.

Lewis Mumford has been referred to as one of the twentieth century's most influential "public intellectuals." A thinker and writer who denied the narrowness of academic speciality, Mumford embraced a cultural analysis that integrated technology, the natural environment, the urban environment, the individual, and the community. Although he lacked a formal university degree, Mumford wrote more than 30 books and 1,000 essays and reviews, which established his "organic" analysis of modern culture. His work defined the interdisciplinary studies movement, especially American studies; urban studies and city planning; architectural history; history of technology; and, most important in the present context, the interaction of science, technology, and society. Mumford was the editor of Dial, the most distinguished literary magazine of its era, and in 1920 he served as editor of Sociological Review in London and was strongly influenced by Sir Patrick Geddes, the Scottish botanist, sociologist, and town planner. In 1923, Mumford became a charter member of the Regional Planning Association of America, an experimental group that studied city problems from a regional as well as an ecological point of view. Mumford's well-known principle of "organicism" (the exploration of a cultural complex, where values, technology, individual personality, and the objective environment complement each other and together could build a world of fulfillment and beauty) was discussed in all of his work, spanning a career of nearly 70 years. Mumford's first book, The Story of Utopias (1922), introduces reliance on history to understand the present as well as to plan for the future. His books on architectural history and his works in urban studies established Mumford's reputation as the leading American critic of architecture and city planning. Each book views and analyzes the city, or built environment, in the context of form, function, and purpose within the larger culture. Mumford's books are focused on technology's role in civilization, especially "the machine" and "megatechnics." As a result, they have provided formative direction and structure to science, technology, and society studies and have established Mumford's stature as one of the foremost social critics of the twentieth century. Mumford's most profound and important analysis of technology (and the work that most directly influenced interdisciplinary technology-society studies) is the two-volume The Myth of the Machine:Volume 1, Technics and Human Development (1967), and Volume 2, The Pentagon of Power (1970). It was written following World War II (during which Mumford lost his son) after the deployment of atomic weapons by Russia and the United States, and during the arms race. This major work reflects a noticeable reinterpretation of the role of technology and a deep pessimism regarding "megatechnics," a metaphor Mumford uses for intrusive, all-encompassing systems of control and oppressive order. He views the military-industrial complex (the most horrendous "megamachine") as destroyer of the emotive and organic aspects of life. Mumford argues against the loss of personal autonomy and the organic world by electricity-based computer systems. Despite deepening pessimism, Mumford continued to write and to lecture in order to foster the values that could reshape technologies for creative and constructive purposes. He always retained the hope of realizing his vision of the "good life" in which objective and personal worlds complement each other through integration of tools, machines, knowledge, values, skills, and arts. Although Mumford refused to define himself narrowly as a historian, sociologist, urbanist, or architectural critic, he became the ideal interdisciplinary observer to inspire and articulate the contextual study of science, technology, and society.

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