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Penguin Classics Erewhon Paperback – Jul 25 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic (July 25 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140430571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140430578
  • Product Dimensions: 1.7 x 13.7 x 19.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 200 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #320,253 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
If the reader will excuse me, I will say nothing of my antecedents, nor of the circumstances which led me to leave my native country; the narrative would be tedious to him and painful to myself. Read the first page
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on Oct. 26 2003
Format: Paperback
Following in the tradition of Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," the English novelist, essayist, and iconoclast Samuel Butler published "Erewhon" privately in 1872. The title is an anagram of "Nowhere," which is the literal translation of the word "Utopia," the title by which Thomas More's 1516 work has commonly become known. "Erewhon" is arguably the first anti-utopian or dystopian novel, anticipating the later and better known works such as Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" and George Orwell's "1984." Whereas More and other utopianists are primarily interested in attacking society's ills and making the world a better place, the anti-utopians engage primarily in either satire of the society in which they live or in making dire predictions about the dismal fate that awaits humanity. Butler is most decidedly in the former category, since he proves in not only "Erewhon" but also his more famous work, the semi-autobiographical novel, "The Way of All Flesh," that his main concern is in attacking the complacency and hypocrisy he saw infecting Victorian society.
Like More's island of Utopia, Butler's Erewhon is a remote kingdom, not to be found on any map, which is discovered by the narrator of the novel (biographers of Butler have assumed it is modeled on a part of New Zealand, which anyone who has viewed the "Lord of the Rings" movies can attest has some spectacular landscapes). Cut off from the rest of the world, the citizens of Erewhon lives according to their own rules and dictates. Butler breaks from the tradition of creating an idealized world that goes back from More to Plato in favor of a more realistic society.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KNO2skull on Feb. 18 2003
Format: Paperback
Samuel Butler's 'Erewhon' is a tale of a simple shepherd who travels too far in his foreign country, (unnamed, but based on New Zealand), only to find another, hidden Country where the sick are imprisoned and the criminal are 'healed'. This previously unknown society is described in detail as to its workings, and seems irrational in its execution.
People you will meet in the travels and travails of this poor lost fellow are of various interesting sorts; including the straighteners, who are doctors for the criminally ill. Our shepherd, visits the musical bank, the College of Unreason, and in detail describes how the people of Erewhon dress and act.
The book was written, in part, to be a criticism of Victorian England, but really stands as a literary classic. Certainly provides amusing entertainment, it is also an interesting look at society in general. Highly recomended for C.S. Lewis and Tolkien fans, this book is indispensable as is the sequel, 'EREWHON REVISITED'.
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By A.J. on April 25 2002
Format: Paperback
Samuel Butler does a neat balancing act with "Erewhon," a novel that is equal parts fictitious travelogue, philosophical tract, social/political/religious satire, and adventure story complete with a romantic subplot. The protagonist, a young Englishman named Higgs who is unsatisfied with employment prospects in his home country, moves to a distant colonized land where he takes a job as a shepherd. Beyond a mountain range there lie some mysterious lands that he would like to explore, and, setting out one day with a timid guide who later abandons him, he eventually gets to the other side of the peaks and finds himself in an isolated country named Erewhon.
One of the first things Higgs notes is that Erewhon is a few hundred years behind the times technologically. They have no modern mechanical conveniences, and when Higgs is discovered to own a watch, it is confiscated and he is put in prison. Later released and placed into the custody of a rich man named Mr. Nosnibor, Higgs learns all about the bizarre customs and beliefs of the Erewhonians.
In Erewhon, sickness is punishable by law and criminal acts are treated medically by people called "straighteners"; so, stealing a pair of socks is analogous to feeling a bit under the weather. The Erewhon banking system is a facade, as their money is worthless. The Erewhonians believe in an ethereal prenatal world where babies are given the (preferred) option not to be born into the mortal world. Their institutions of higher education, the Colleges of Unreason, teach conformity and resist originality and progress.
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Format: Paperback
Erewhon, which was written in 1872, is a strange but funny and intriguing description of the world turned upside down. In the country Erewhon money is worthless and there is no life after death but there is life before birth. People hate machines, because they might develop consciousness and become a threat for humans. Crime is a disease and disease is a crime: criminals are treated and nurtured, whereas sick people are seen as dangerous and bad and get punished. But wait a minute...... is this a description of the world turned upside down or a description of what the world is turning into?
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