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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/4305

Title: Snapshotting the ‘Other’: images of the ‘otherness’ in Samuel Butler’s life and work (1835-1902)
Authors: Gaddo, Irene
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Citation: Irene Gaddo, "Snapshotting the ‘Other’: images of the ‘otherness’ in Samuel Butler’s life and work (1835-1902)", in Guido Abbattista (edited by), Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture, pp. 363-378.
Abstract: A fierce satirist and debunker of Victorian values, Samuel Butler (1835-1902) offers an interesting viewpoint on the contradictions and tensions that characterized the first imperial world power at the end of the nineteenth century. His voice, in a peculiar, idiosyncratic and brilliant way, was discordant with the mainly buoyant, optimistic and somewhat opinionated mood of mid- and late-Victorian period. Concepts of expansion, progress and civilizing mission were just beginning to be questioned, affecting the whole ideological construction which the British nation had been relying on. Butler, with his sardonic and corrosive irony, showed a growing unease about the dominant image of national identity; while criticizing the main institutions of society, he also attacked another component of Victorian mind: Darwinism. He did so not only in satirical prose and essays, but also in photography, which he regarded as a sort of ‘externalized maker of experience’ and memory or, in his words, “unconscious mind”, against any casual or evolutionary explanation of humankind. Even though he misread many of Darwin’s achievements, Butler’s case provides the opportunity to approach some of the complexities of an age when the notion of identity was confronting the challenges of a new, multifarious and problematic conceptualization of ‘otherness’.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10077/4305
ISBN: 978-88-8303-306-3
Appears in Collections:Encountering Otherness. Diversities and Transcultural Experiences in Early Modern European Culture

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