Who Wrote "Erewhon"?


Quick Answer

The satirical utopian novel "Erewhon" was published anonymously in 1872 by Samuel Butler (not the 17th-century poet Samuel Butler). Intended as a criticism of Victorian life, "Erewhon" sold very well, partly because its audience assumed someone famous wrote it.

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Full Answer

Butler had a difficult childhood and gave up his aspirations to become a scientist in order to enter the church in part due to pressure from his overbearing father. He was always a quiet rebel and easily spotted the flaws and contradictions in Victorian society. "Erewhon" was written in response to those contradictions. Like Jonathan Swift, Butler used literature to expose hypocrisy. His novel, the first to suggest that machines could develop intelligence, has been cited by Aldous Huxley and George Bernard Shaw as an influence on their own work.

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