- Samuel Butler’s Erewhon is a challenge to Darwin and a challenge to socialism. It holds its bite against the latter, but has become more of a prophecy of the future with regards to the former: Butler took Darwin’s theory, applied it meticulously to machines, and forecast the computer.
- Samuel Butler (Wikipedia)
His two best-known works are the Utopian satire Erewhon and the posthumous novel The Way of All Flesh, but his writings extend to examinations of Christian orthodoxy, substantive studies of evolutionary thought, studies of Italian art, and works of literary history and criticism.
“Inspired by Samuel Butler’s years in colonial New Zealand, and by his reading of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species’, Erewhon (1872) is a highly original, irreverent and humorous satire on conventional virtues, religious hypocrisy and the unthinking acceptance of beliefs.”
- Erewhon Revisited (paperback)
This sequel isn’t as much of the satire that the first book was; it spends more time with the characters themselve.s (Samuel Butler)
- The Way of All Flesh
“The Way of All Flesh (1903) ‘exploded like a bomb’ in Edwardian drawing rooms. Based on Samuel Butler’s own life and published posthumously, it offers a scathing indictment of Victorian bourgeois values as personified in five generations of the Pontifex family. Butler’s satire centers on Ernest Pontifex, an orthodox young man who suddenly sees the falseness of the rules and expectations forced on him by parents and teachers, an epiphany which leads him to renounce the moral, religious, and social values he once held.”