Samuel Butler

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Samuel ButlerSamuel Butler was born in Nottinghamshire, England in 1835, the son of a reverend. He graduated from St. John's College, Cambridge in 1858. He briefly pursued a career as a clergyman, at the urging of his father. However, Samuel's heretical ideals and nonconformist nature won out, and he came to be a staunch supporter of the newly contrived Darwinism and renounced Christianity. Later on Butler came to reject Darwinism as well, and he spent the rest of his life as quite a loner in his ideological opinions. After spending time writing articles in New Zealand, Butler returned to England, where he wrote such works as his satire Erewhon ("nowhere" rearranged); Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ... Critically Examined; The Fair Haven; and his most famous work, The Way of All Flesh, an autobiography. Many of his works are satires criticizing both Darwinism and Orthodox Christianity. He studied painting and tried to pursue art as his vocation for a time (one of his works hangs in the Tate Gallery in London), and also tried his hand at composing music. He died in London in 1902. Special Collections holds over 80 items by and about Samuel Butler, including signed first editions, and later editions of the author's most famous works. Many of the later editions are were made famous by the use of celebrated illustrators, some of whom have signed the copies present in our collection.

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Last updated:
March 27, 2013