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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Listings for Author:  

Samuel Butler


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Samuel Butler : Note Books

Neville Cardus, on devising cultural self-improvement scheme, in Autobiography (1947): "'... one day I picked up a copy of Samuel Butler's Note Books and read the following: 'Never try to learn anything until the not knowing it has become a nuisance to you for some time ...' ' "

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Neville Cardus      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Hudibras

'I came home and read Hudibras and William Byrd ...'

Century: 1800-1849     Reader/Listener/Group: William Richard Grahame      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : [poems complete works]

'I devoured poetry and nothing but poetry until I became insensible to poetry. Take an example; I happened upon some fat volumes of Campbell's "British Poets", the complete works of from four to eight poets in each volume which cost me 6d. apiece. They had shabby worn leather bindings, and the type was on the small side and closely set. But I ploughed through them, doggedly, as if reading for a bet, or an imposed task. One volume I remember contained the poetical works of Samuel Daniel, Browne, Giles and Phineas Fletcher, Ben Jonson, Drummond (of Ha[w]thornden), John Donne, and some more minor ones. Another contained along with "also rans" Cowley, Milton and "Hudibras" Butler. And, I repeat, I ploughed through them with a stout heart, but little sense, and a dwindling understanding.'

Century: 1850-1899     Reader/Listener/Group: Thomas A. Jackson      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Hudibras

'And so I home to dinner, and thence abroad to Pauls churchyard and there looked upon the second part of "Hudibras", which I buy not but borrow to read, to see if it be as good as the first, which the world cries so mightily up; though it hath not a good liking in me, though I had tried by twice or three times reading to bring myself to think it witty.'

Century: 1600-1699     Reader/Listener/Group: Samuel Pepys      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Hudibras

Letter to Collector MacVicar, May 30 1773 'I will no longer bewilder myself among figures, for I see you ready to compare me to Hudibras, "Who could not ope/ His mouth but out there flew a trope"?'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Anne Grant [nee MacVicar]      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : The Way of all Flesh

'You shock me. Not by liking "The Way of all Flesh", but by liking "The Devil?s Garden" and "Fortitude" . . . . it is not excusable to lose your head about badness or mediocrity. About "The Devil?s Garden" there is nothing to be said, it simply does not exist. "Fortitude" is by a man who has written one real book ("Mr, Perrin & Mr. Traill") , but "Fortitude" is undoubtedly a failure.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Arnold Bennett      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Notebooks

Monday 2 September 1929: 'I have just read a page or two out of Samuel Butler's notebooks to take the taste of Alice Meynell's life out of my mouth. One rather craves brilliance & cantankerousness. Yet I am interested; a little teased by the tight airless Meynell style; & then I think what they had that we had not -- some suavity & grace, certainly [comments further on Meynell's work, life and personality] [...] When one reads a life one often compares one's own life with it. And doing this I was aware of some sweetness & dignity in those lives compared with ours [...] Yet in fact their lives would be intolerable -- so insincere, so elaborate; so I think [goes on to comment further on Meynell family, and others' reminiscences of them]'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Virginia Woolf      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Notebooks

'I am extremely busy & my novel isn?t getting a fair chance. I solace myself with the "note books" of Samuel Butler.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Arnold Bennett      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Hudibras

[Pilkington having annoyed Swift by remembering one of his poems and reciting it to others, he decided to test her memory. She told him] 'I could repeat not only all his Works, but all [italics] Shakespear[end italics]'s, which I put to this Trial; I desir'd him to open any Part of it and read a Line, and I would engage to go on with the whole Speech; as we were in his Library, he directly made the Experiment: The Line he first gave me, he had purposely picked out for its singular Oddness: [italics] Put rancours in the Vessel of my Peace [end italics] MacBeth I readily went on with the whole Speech, and did so several times, that he try'd me with different Plays. The Dean then took down [italics] Hudibras [end italics], and order'd me to examine him in it, as he had done me in [italics] Shakespear [end itaics]; and, to my great Surprize, I found he remember'd every Line, from Beginning to End of it. I say, it surpriz'd me, because I had been misled by Mr [italics] Pope [end italics]'s Remark, That [italics] Where beams of warm Imagination play The Memory's soft Figures melt away [end italics] Essay on Criticism'.

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Jonathan Swift      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Erewhon; or, Over the Range

E. M. Forster to Alice Clara Forster, 9 April 1905: 'Elizabeth [employer] has lent me Erewhon which I am enjoying.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Edward Morgan Forster      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : [unknown]

'Sydney [Larkin's father] gave him free run of his library and his appetite for books grew enormously. "Thanks to my father", he wrote later: "our house contained not only the principal works of most main English writers in some form or other (admittedly there were exceptions, like Dickens), but also nearly-complete collections of authors my father favoured - Hardy, Bennett, Wilde, Butler and Shaw, and later on Lawrence, Huxley and Katherine Mansfield".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Sydney Larkin      Print: Book


Samuel Butler : Hudibras

'[Johnson said] "Hudibras" affords a strong proof how much hold political principles had then upon the minds of men. There is in "Hudibras" a great deal of bullion which will always last. But to be sure the brightest strokes of his wit owed their force to the impression of the characters which was upon men's minds at the time; to their knowing them at table and in the street; in short, being familiar with them; and above all, to his satire being directed against those whom a little while before they had hated and feared.'

Century: 1700-1799     Reader/Listener/Group: Samuel Johnson      Print: Book


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