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Dewey Decimal. The Way of All Flesh First ed. London: Grant Richards. Retrieved 11 October — via Internet Archive. Not That It Matters 3rd ed. Retrieved 12 October — via Internet Archive. Namespaces Article Talk. Views Read Edit View history. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Spine and front cover of the first edition. It has to be one of the most ferocious novels ever written, and is a superb indictment of hypocrisy and the evils of fake piety.

Its energy, bite and its attacks on so many aspects of the 19thC meant that I could never view Victorianism in quite the same way again after reading it. Today this tends to be a book which many people have heard of, but never read, and have certainly never watched in a film version. And yet it is a book which everyone ought to read, which is why I included it in my literary series.

Free downloadable version in various formats including Kindle, epub, pdf and others. If you are unsure of how to add these files to your ereader, look here. Perhaps it is too harsh and bleak. That a man should have been bred well and breed others well Thus the book itself ends up being a monumental hypocrisy. Exactly the kind of unthinking narrow prejudices that his anti-hero Theobald Pontifex has about religion, the author, Samuel Butler, has about class. He has Ernest cured of his idiotic stupidity by having money thrust upon him. He has poor lower class Ellen condemned to be incurable from drink.

To be in poverty is to be uncivilized. Ernest, upon getting money, gets back to civilization. Butler's phrase Apr 11, classic reverie rated it it was amazing Shelves: , english-writer , bildungsroman , old-time-radio-reference , philosophical-bend , religious-element-predominance , favorites , samuel-butler.

Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh was mentioned in a book I was reading some years ago and I marked it "to read" but my interest was again peaked last year while reading Christopher Morley's Parnassus on Wheels which is packed with novels and authors due to the main character there peddles used books. I have never read Butler and had no idea about this book except the title seemed risque but I found this story to be thought provoking look at family and religion which was published posthumousl Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh was mentioned in a book I was reading some years ago and I marked it "to read" but my interest was again peaked last year while reading Christopher Morley's Parnassus on Wheels which is packed with novels and authors due to the main character there peddles used books.


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I have never read Butler and had no idea about this book except the title seemed risque but I found this story to be thought provoking look at family and religion which was published posthumously in This is a semi autobiography novel which centers around four generations of the Pontifex family and mostly the "coming of age" of Ernest Pontifex.

He is expected to join the church but Ernest is different and he is out of sync with his fellow peers which makes him find trouble along the way. Family relationships are brought to the forefront during these Victorian times. This book has religious questioning throughout which is the driving force of this novel but not in an overly religious way but more of a young man wondering about God and religion in his life and what path to follow. I read the Delphi collection edition which I used my beta feature to highlight many quotes that interested me. View all 6 comments.

Aug 07, Greg rated it really liked it Shelves: literature , modern-library , britannia.

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Witty, sarcastic attack on the institutions of Victorian England published in but written decades earlier. Most of the humor still holds up, and I really enjoyed most of the book. I don't seek out novels of that period as a rule, because I generally dislike their prolixity and find their themes dated and uninteresting. This is an exception. It's on the 5 side of 4 stars.


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What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be. This is a book to be read with focus as much could be lost without careful reading. One can certainly not steamroll through this novel without missing out on great humor from its marvelous author, Samuel Butler. Each page requires longer than usual time for reading, however, the payback is w What a pleasant surprise this book turned out to be. Each page requires longer than usual time for reading, however, the payback is well worth the effort. Ernest endures beatings from his father who then forces him into the clergy. The naive young man must learn to grow and finally rebels, only after unwittingly being imprisoned while living among the poor as a young cleric.

The Way of All Flesh (The Penguin English Library)

I believe Butler did so as to not offend the many readers who could be recognized in his book. Butler claimed he was still revising the novel he had worked on from to and postponed its earlier publication and only at his deathbed did he request its being published as it were. I think I could get into some trouble with Mr. Butler were I to meet him as I believe him to be a rebel such as myself.

I believe he truly wrote from his heart and I would love to ask if he really kept little notebooks in his pockets as Ernest does in The Way of All Flesh. Quotes: …Papas and mamas sometimes ask young men whether their intentions are honourable towards their daughters. I think young men might occasionally ask papas and mamas whether their intentions are honourable before they accept invitations to houses where there are still unmarried daughters.

Practical family men know better. It may matter to them—but I have too much money to want more, and if the books have any stuff in them it will work by and by. I do not know nor greatly care whether they are good or not. What opinion can any sane man form about his own work? View 1 comment.

Oct 07, Estott rated it really liked it. Slight spoiler I first read this years ago and it affected me deeply- and the best parts still do, though I now find it a very uneven work. As I see it after recently rereading his Erewhon books is that Butler was a divided character: he was a good writer who could tell an entertaining story, but he was also a bitter man who wanted to be didactic - and he couldn't manage to do it without the narrative grinding to a halt at intervals. This is a very good book which could be edited into a great Slight spoiler I first read this years ago and it affected me deeply- and the best parts still do, though I now find it a very uneven work.

This is a very good book which could be edited into a great one.

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Ernest finds it many years later and is moved when he reads it View 2 comments. Oct 28, Annie rated it it was ok. Honestly, this was pretty aggravating. It suffers the most criminal defect: it's plain boring. The characters aren't unique enough to make me care. It's narrated by Mr. Overton, who's friends with the Pontifex family. The first third is a dry breakdown of the past three or four generations of the Pontifex family and how they fit into their local community or don't , and how Mr.

Overton has a thing for Alethea Pontifex. Didn't care. The next two-thirds are about Ernest Pontifex, who is Alethea's n Honestly, this was pretty aggravating. The next two-thirds are about Ernest Pontifex, who is Alethea's nephew. Alethea died and gave her fortune to Mr. Overton so that he could give it to Ernest when he comes of age. For some reason she took a liking to Ernest. Can't imagine why. Ernest has some boring crises of faith and basically gets suckered in by some cultish Anglican priests. He tries to rape someone and gets convicted and sent to jail.