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ELT: VOLUME 34:3, 1991 Hardy's "edgewise" writing—his way of preserving originality in a literary marketplace bristling with prescription—required that he find readers willing to "piece out his imperfections with [their] thoughts," readers eager and able to generously exploit his obliqueness of sentiment and statement. Of course, such readers he too seldom found (in the case oÃ- Jude the Obscure his wife Emma was not among them). His thoughts often offended readers, and nowhere so much so as in Tess, Jude, and The Well-Beloved, those novels of the 1890s certain of whose readers' responses drove Hardy (at least so he said) to give up fiction-writing for the writing of poetry. What these important letters of the 1890s reveal (see pages 68, 69, 113) is not just Hardy's extreme sensitivity to criticism, but also his creative need for readers able to accept and at the same time add to that unconventional sense of things, that "idiosyncratic mode of regard," that application of his very own ideas to life, that edgewiseness, that he courageously imposed upon his public for more than half a century. Thanks to Professor Millgate's at once meticulous and imaginative editing of this highly readable volume, this important aspect of Hardy's career as novelist and poet is visible, at least to me, as never before. Peter J. Casagrande University of Kansas Focus on Butler Scholarship Hans-Peter Breuer and Roger Parsell. Samuel Butler: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him. New York & London: Garland, 1990. xlviii + 498 pp. $58.00 "WHO WAS Samuel Butler?" asked Wayne G. Hammond in his introduction to the catalogue of an exhibition at the Chapin Library of Williams College held 4 December 1985 through 21 March 1986 in observance of the sesquicentennial of Butler's birth. He continued with the succinct answer to his own question: He was not only the author οι Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh, for which he is best (often solely) remembered, but also a painter, a poet, a composer, an authority on Homer, Shakespeare, and Evolution, an art historian, and one of the most entertaining writers of modern times. Unashamedly eccentric, he was prone to holding unpopular opinions and expressing them strongly. In his 334 Book Reviews lifetime he was, as he remarked in his note-books, "neglected and misrepresented "; by and large, he still is — Above all, he was a multi-faceted iconoclast, tilting at Victorian windmills , somewhat like a modern day Don Quixote, taking on such diverse opponents as science and religion, exemplified by Charles Darwin and his followers, and the established church in its interpretation of Christianity. His forays into literary scholarship as translator of Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey and as author of The Authoress of the Odyssey and Shakespeare's Sonnets Reconsidered, produced little other than controversy and were not taken too seriously, for he was definitely considered an "outsider" by most of his contemporaries. Butler was born 4 December 1835, at Langar, near Nottingham, England, son of the Rev. Thomas Butler and grandson of Dr. Samuel Butler, Bishop of Lichfield. In turn destined to be ordained, his doubts turned him from the church and in 1859 he emigrated to New Zealand, where for four years he was a sheep rancher with money supplied by his father, and which resulted in his first book, A First Year in Canterbury Settlement. The sale of his ranch nearly doubled his capital, and on his return to London in 1864 he began serious study of art, and had some works exhibited at the Royal Academy, but soon found he could not support himself by painting and turned to writing. In 1872 he published Erewhon, a satiric and ironic mirror of English society, his only book to gain wide recognition during his lifetime. Soon after he started writing his largely autobiographical novel, The Way of All Fresh, the story of a young man in revolt against family background and all it represents. This caustic picture of family life in mid-Victorian England, which is perhaps the best known of all of his works, was not published until 1903, a year after his death, and has been, probably...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-2715
Print ISSN
0013-8339
Pages
pp. 334-337
Launched on MUSE
2010-05-21
Open Access
No
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