Butler, Beggs, and bad comparisons
I think this sentence, which comes from the wikipedia entry for Samuel Butler, contains what Gilbert Ryle called a category mistake:
George Bernard Shaw (who also visited New Zealand) and E.M. Forster (who got only as far as India) were great admirers of Samuel Butler, who brought a new tone into Victorian literature, and also began the long tradition of New Zealand utopian literature that would culminate in the works of Jack Ross, Scott Hamilton and William Direen.
Butler was a very early supporter of Darwin, so it seems particularly unfair that his anonymous biographer has made Erewhon de-evolve into the turgid works of yours truly. What's next - Bob Dylan as a precursor to James Blunt? James Joyce as the first draft of JK Rowling?
Anyone who read through the last few posts on this blog would find Butlerian prose rather thin on the ground. Things have come to a pretty pass, I think, when a photo of me eating fish and chips at Kaiaua is considered blogworthy material. Luckily, the fall of Reading the Maps has coincided with the emergence of Scandalum, the latest blog to belong to Mike Beggs, Timaru's greatest living Marxist. Go and check Scandalum out, if you despair of this place. I think Butler would appreciate this piece of Beggs prose.
Be warned, though, that the photograph at the top of Mike's latest post is even scarier than the specimens Skyler has been pasting up on this site. I'm beginning to understand why Perry Anderson resisted being snapped for decades.