Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh

(2711 words)
  • Amy R. Wong (University of California, Los Angeles)

Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh was written in the years between 1872 and 1884 but was not published until 1903, a year after Butler’s death, largely because the novel is Butler’s most autobiographical and contained a very critical representation of his upbringing by an authoritarian father of strict, high-church principles. Like the novel’s main character, Ernest Pontifex, Butler rebelled against his father, deciding not to take holy orders. While works published during his lifetime, most prominently his utopian novel Erewhon, Or, Over the Range (1872), won Butler moderate acclaim during his lifetime, it would be The Way of All Flesh that would establish Butler’s place in the literary canon, …

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Wong, Amy R.. "The Way of All Flesh". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 19 September 2011
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]