A First Year in Canterbury Settlement
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) became famous with his satirical Utopian novel Erewhon, based on his experiences as a sheep farmer in New Zealand and published, initially anonymously, in 1872. This earlier book, published in London in 1863 while he was still abroad, is a compilation of his letters home. Having obtained a degree in Classics from Cambridge, Butler had left England in 1859 with generous funding from his father, who hoped that making his fortune in the colonies would cure his son's ambition to become an artist. Butler was highly successful in his farming enterprise, and his letters provide both financial details and information on the practicalities of animal husbandry, pasture management and colonial life. Butler also explored Canterbury and travelled to the Southern Alps, and describes vividly the landscapes, flora and fauna of South Island. This classic source for New Zealand history also sheds light on Butler's later work.
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