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Samuel Butler (Novelist)
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Author
    (December 4, 1835-June 18, 1902)
    Born in Langar, England, United Kingdom
    Wrote 'Erewhon' (1872), 'Erewhon Revisited' (1901) and 'The Way of All Flesh' (published posthumously, 1903)
    After a quarrel with his father over his career, he became a sheep farmer in New Zealand to put maximum distance between himself and his family.
    One biographer wrote, 'Butler's heroes were few, and included Shakespeare and Handel. Almost everyone else he despised.'
    He developed some idiosyncratic literary theories, such as that Homer's 'Odyssey' was actually written by a woman and that Shakespeare's sonnets, if rearranged, tell the story of a homosexual affair.
    Talking to a female friend he believed to be dying, he said 'If you find in the world beyond the grave that you can communicate with me -- that there is some way in which you can make me aware of your continued existence -- promise me solemnly that you will never, never avail yourself of it.' (He noted, 'She recovered and never, never forgave me.')
    He was frequently beaten by his father.
    He wrote prose translations of 'The Odyssey' and 'The Iliad' that remain in use.
    His 'Erewhon' influenced Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World' and 'Island.'
    He wrote, 'All animals, except man, know that the principal business of life is to enjoy it.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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