The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler

Discover the intellectual treasury within "The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler" book. Explore profound reflections and ideas from the brilliant mind of Samuel Butler. A literary journey awaits.
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“The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler” is a captivating collection of writings by the renowned English author and philosopher, Samuel Butler. First published posthumously in 1912, the book offers readers a unique glimpse into Butler’s brilliant mind and encompasses a wide range of topics, from literature and art to science and morality. The notebooks are a treasure trove of insights, reflections, and ideas that showcase Butler’s intellectual prowess and deep understanding of human nature. This article delves into the essence of the book, providing an overview, summary, reviews, notable quotes, and frequently asked questions.

Read Also : The Way of All Flesh


“The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler” is an amalgamation of Samuel Butler’s private jottings and reflections, compiled and edited after his death by his literary executor, R.A. Streatfeild. The notebooks themselves were a personal project for Butler, used to record his thoughts and observations over the years. The content within the book touches on diverse subjects, reflecting the author’s multifaceted interests and erudition.

Throughout the collection, Butler contemplates the human condition, societal norms, the arts, evolution, literature, and much more. His writing style is both eloquent and profound, drawing readers into the depths of his musings. The book invites readers to explore Butler’s keen observations on life and to ponder the philosophical questions that permeate his thoughts.


Critics and readers alike have praised “The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler” for its intellectual depth and philosophical richness. The collection has been commended for offering an intimate glimpse into Butler’s mind, providing a valuable perspective on the development of his ideas and intellectual evolution. Many have lauded the diversity of subjects covered in the notebooks, which reflects Butler’s broad range of interests and expertise.

The book has been celebrated for its thought-provoking content, with readers finding themselves captivated by the author’s unique insights and perspectives on the human experience. Butler’s writing style has been described as engaging and enlightening, making the book accessible to a wide range of audiences.


“The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler” is replete with memorable quotes that continue to resonate with readers. Some notable quotes include:

“Life is like playing a violin solo in public and learning the instrument as one goes on.”
“The essence of genius is to know what to overlook.”
“Thought is the child of action.”
“Morality is the custom of one’s country, and the current opinion of one’s set.”

FAQs :

Q : Are the notebooks arranged thematically or chronologically?
A : The notebooks are organized thematically, allowing readers to explore different subjects and topics in a coherent manner.

Q : How does this book compare to Samuel Butler’s other works?
A : While Samuel Butler is best known for his novels like “Erewhon” and “The Way of All Flesh,” “The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler” provides a more intimate and introspective look at the author’s thoughts and intellectual pursuits.

Q : Is the book suitable for casual readers or only for scholars?
A : The book is accessible to both casual readers and scholars. While Butler’s ideas are intellectually stimulating, his writing style is engaging and approachable.

Q : Does the collection include unpublished material?
A : Yes, the notebooks consist of previously unpublished material, providing a fresh and unique perspective on Butler’s thoughts and writings.

“The NoteBooks of Samuel Butler” is a literary gem that continues to inspire readers with its profound insights and intellectual depth. From its diverse range of topics to Butler’s captivating writing style, the collection invites readers to delve into the mind of one of the great thinkers of the 19th century. Whether one is interested in philosophy, literature, or the human condition, this book offers a treasure trove of reflections and ideas that will leave a lasting impact on its readers.