The Note-Books of Samuel Butler

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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 (15 hr 56 min)


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