The Note-Books of Samuel Butler

Henry Festing JONES (1851 - 1928) and Samuel BUTLER (1835 - 1902)

Early in his life Samuel Butler began to carry a note-book and to write down in it anything he wanted to remember; it might be something he heard some one say, more commonly it was something he said himself. In one of these notes he gives a reason for making them:

“One’s thoughts fly so fast that one must shoot them; it is no use trying to put salt on their tails.”

So he bagged as many as he could hit and preserved them, re-written on loose sheets of paper which constituted a sort of museum stored with the wise, beautiful, and strange creatures that were continually winging their way across the field of his vision. As he became a more expert marksman his collection increased and his museum grew so crowded that he wanted a catalogue. In 1874 he started an index, and this led to his reconsidering the notes, destroying those that he remembered having used in his published books and re-writing the remainder. The re-writing shortened some but it lengthened others and suggested so many new ones that the index was soon of little use and there seemed to be no finality about it. In 1891 he attached the problem afresh and made it a rule to spend an hour every morning re-editing his notes and keeping his index up to date. At his death, in 1902, he left five bound volumes, with the contents dated and indexed, about 225 pages of closely written sermon paper to each volume, and more than enough unbound and unindexed sheets to made a sixth volume of equal size. - Summary by Henry Festing Jones

Genre(s): Essays & Short Works, Memoirs

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Preface Kristin Lewis
00:16:55
Play 02 Biographical Statement Kristin Lewis
00:22:06
Play 03 Lord, What is Man? Ellies
00:32:13
Play 04 Elementary Morality Ellies
00:51:05
Play 05 The Germs of Erewhon and of Life and Habit Ellies
00:51:05
Play 06 Memory and Design Ellies
00:22:56
Play 07 Vibrations Ellies
00:19:43
Play 08 Mind and Matter Ellies
00:46:24
Play 09 On the Making of Music, Pictures and Books Mayah
00:48:43
Play 10 Handel and Music, part 1 Barbara Baker
00:28:59
Play 11 Handel and Music, part 2 Barbara Baker
00:33:27
Play 12 A Painter’s Views on Painting, part 1 Colleen McMahon
00:21:29
Play 13 A Painter’s Views on Painting, part 2 Colleen McMahon
00:22:56
Play 14 The Position of a Homo Unius Libri Ellies
00:26:55
Play 15 Cash and Credit Rebecca N
00:32:47
Play 16 The Enfant Terrible of Literature Rebecca N
00:36:44
Play 17 Unprofessional Sermons Rebecca N
00:32:52
Play 18 Higgledy-Piggledy Rebecca N
00:20:58
Play 19 Titles and Subjects Foon
00:13:51
Play 20 Written Sketches, part 1 Barbara Baker
00:24:59
Play 21 Written Sketches, part 2 Barbara Baker
00:27:56
Play 22 Material for a Projected Sequel to Alps and Sanctuaries, part 1 KHand
00:31:24
Play 23 Material for a Projected Sequel to Alps and Sanctuaries, part 2 KHand
00:30:37
Play 24 Material for Erewhon Revisited Ellies
00:22:09
Play 25 Truth and Convenience 5pak
00:26:41
Play 26 First Principles, part 1 5pak
00:27:29
Play 27 First Principles, part 2 5pak
00:27:29
Play 28 Rebelliousness 5pak
00:31:19
Play 29 Reconciliation 5pak
00:16:09
Play 30 Death Colleen McMahon
00:14:23
Play 31 The Life of the World to Come, part 1 5pak
00:29:38
Play 32 The Life of the World to Come, part 2 5pak
00:23:21
Play 33 Poems Ellies
00:41:01