Butler Community

This page contains information about people currently engaged in research relating to Samuel Butler, and a list of other institutions that hold manuscripts of Butler's works.

Current research

Below is a list of scholars and researchers currently working on or sharing an interest in Samuel Butler’s works and their various contexts. Those who have supplied email addresses are happy to be contacted in relation to their work. (Please note that these contact details were collected during the Butler Project, in 2013, and may subsequently have changed.) If you are currently working on Butler and would like to be included on this list, please contact the Library.

Dr Elinor Shaffer, FBA School of Advanced Study, University of London (Elinor.Shaffer@sas.ac.uk)

Elinor is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies in the University of London, and a Life Member of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Her book Erewhons of the Eye: Samuel Butler as Painter, Photographer and Art Critic (1988) led to exhibitions around the country of Butler’s artwork and photography (Samuel Butler: The Way of All Flesh, 1989-90) and Elinor also curated the Butler centenary exhibition at St John's College, Cambridge in 2002. Elinor is currently Series Editor for the three-volume The Reception of Charles Darwin in Europe, and gave a talk at the first ‘Butler Day’ at St John’s College in March 2012, entitled ‘Butler Among the Machines: Evolutionary literature and science in Europe, 1859-1902’ (listen to the talk online here).

Professor Roger Robinson Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand (website)

Roger is Emeritus Professor of English at Victoria University of Wellington, as well as a leading sports writer, speaker and historian, and former elite international runner. His research on Butler has spanned many years and includes an edition of The Way of All Flesh (1976), and several essays on Butler and New Zealand; one in Samuel Butler: Victorian against the Grain (2007) and one in New Zealand as it Might Have Been 2 (ed. Stephen Levine, 2010). He is currently gathering new material on Butler’s time in the Upper Rangitata, as well as consolidating his previous research on Butler’s career as a runner at Shrewsbury School, about which he gave a talk at the final 'Butler Day' at St John's College in May 2013 (read more here).

Dr Clarice Zdanski Franklin College, Switzerland (czdanski@fc.edu)

Clarice is a practising painter and musician, and Artist in Residence in Art History and Studio Art at Franklin College, where she teaches art courses and academic travel seminars. Her essay ‘Samuel Butler, Local Identity and Periodizing Northern Italian Art: The Travel Writer-Painter’s View of Art History’ was published in Samuel Butler: Victorian Against the Grain (2007). She is currently researching Butler’s writing and painting in Ticino, and gave a talk at the second 'Butler Day' at St John's College in January 2013 (read more here).

Professor Sally Shuttleworth University of Oxford (sally.shuttleworth@st-annes.ox.ac.uk)

Sally’s research is largely in the field of Victorian Studies, with a particular emphasis on the inter-relations between literature and science. Her most recent article on Butler is ‘Spiritual Pathology: Priests, Physicians, and The Way of All Flesh’, due to be published in Victorian Studies in the autumn.

Professor James I. Porter University of California, Irvine (jiporter@uci.edu)

James is a Professor of Classics at UC Irvine. His research on Butler and Homer includes ‘Samuel Butler and the Subversion of Philology’, in Modernity’s Classics, ed. S.C. Humphreys and R. Wagner (Springer Verlag, 2013), and Homer: The Very Idea, a book on the invention and reception of Homer from antiquity to the present (forthcoming with University of Chicago Press).

Professor David Amigoni Keele University (d.amigoni@keele.ac.uk)

David is Professor of Victorian Literature in the Department of English at Keele. His 2007 monograph Colonies, Cults and Evolution contains a chapter on Butler, and his essay on Butler’s evolutionary writings was published in Samuel Butler: Victorian Against the Grain (2007). Recently, his essay ‘Charles Darwin’s Centenary and the Politics and Poetics of Parenting: Inheritance, Variation, and the Aesthetic Legacy of Samuel Butler’ was published in The Evolution of Literature: Legacies of Darwin in European Cultures (ed. Saul and James, 2011). This work forms part of a broader research project on intellectual families, science and literature in the late nineteenth to the mid twentieth centuries, which includes Butler’s links to William and Gregory Bateson.

Professor Ruth Parkin-Gounelas Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece (gounelas@lit.auth.gr)

Ruth is Emeritus Professor in the Department of English at Aristotle University. She wrote her PhD thesis for Oxford University on Some Influences on the Work of Samuel Butler (1835-1902) (1978), and has subsequently published in the fields of gender, literature and science, and literature and psychoanalysis. Her essay on Butler and late nineteenth-century psychology was published in Samuel Butler: Victorian Against the Grain (2007).

Dr Herbert Sussman New School, New York (hlsuss@aol.com)

Herbert has written extensively on Victorian literature and culture, his most recent book being Victorian Technology: Invention, Innovation, and the Rise of the Machine (2009). His essay ‘Samuel Butler as Late-Victorian Bachelor’ was published in Samuel Butler: Victorian Against the Grain (2007). He is now an adjunct professor at the New School.

Dr Tuncer Yilmaz Ataturk University, Turkey (tyilmaz@atauni.edu.tr)

Tuncer completed his PhD, 'Samuel Butler and Erewhon in the context of Utopian Satire', in 2011, and is now working as Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey.

Dr Andrew Kerrigan (andrewkerrigan@ymail.com)

Andrew completed his PhD, 'Samuel Butler and the Rhetoric of Development: A Study of the Contribution Butler's Literary Imagination Made to the Writing of his Prose Works', at the University of Strathclyde in 2012. He is currently preparing his work for publication.

Dr Cristiano Turbil University of Brighton (c.turbil@brighton.ac.uk)

Cristiano completed his PhD, entitled ‘The Missing Link, Samuel Butler and the Theory of Evolution: Design, Physiology and Psychology of Unconscious in Victorian Britain’, at the University of Kent in 2014. He gave a talk at the second 'Butler Day' at St John's College in January 2013, entitled 'Samuel Butler, un Amico dell'Italia: The history of a cultural partnership' (listen to the talk online here). He is currently working as a lecturer at the University of Brighton.

David Gillott Birkbeck, University of London (dgillo01@mail.bbk.ac.uk)

David is currently researching for a PhD entitled 'Authority, Authorship and Lamarckian Self-Fashioning in the Works of Samuel Butler (1835-1902)'.

Horatio Morpurgo Journalist and writer (website)

'Samuel Butler, or The Art of Being Funny About Religion', originally written for PN Review, is included in Horatio's recent essay collection Lady Chatterley's Defendant & Other Awkward Customers (2011). Horatio is currently working on a novel with Butler-related themes, an excerpt from which will appear in the October/November 2012 issue of The London Magazine.

Dr Alison Pearn Cambridge University Library

Alison is the Associate Director of the Darwin Correspondence Project, and gave a talk at the first 'Butler Day' at St John's College in March 2012 about the fascinating correspondence between Samuel Butler and Charles Darwin that survives in the Darwin archive.

Dr Maxim Shadurski Siedlce University, Poland (maxim.shadurski@uph.edu.pl)

Maxim is Associate Professor of English Literature in the Faculty of Humanities at Siedlce University (Poland). He earned his PhD from the University of Edinburgh. His first book, Literary Utopias from More to Huxley: The Issues of Genre of Poetics and Semiosphere. Finding an Island (Moscow, 2007, 2011), features a chapter on Samuel Butler’s Erewhon and Erewhon Revisited. His second book, Utopia as a World Model: The Boundaries and Borderlands of a Literary Phenomenon (Siedlce, 2016), examines Butler’s influence on Aldous Huxley’s Island (1962) through his ‘Preface’ to Erewhon (1934), The Perennial Philosophy (1944), essays and letters. Maxim has served as academic advisor for the volumes on Samuel Butler, Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh for the Gale / Cengage publishing group.

Other collections of Butler material

St John’s College Library houses the largest single collection of archived material relating to Samuel Butler, but a number of other institutions across the world hold original manuscripts by Butler, as well as other related and significant items.

Manuscripts of major works

Location (given by Butler’s literary executors, R.A. Streatfeild or Henry Festing Jones)

Alps & Sanctuaries

St John’s College Library, Cambridge

The Authoress of the Odyssey

Biblioteca Fardelliana, Trapani and Acireale, Sicily


British Library, London [Add MS 36711]

Erewhon Revisited

British Library, London [Add MS 36713]

Evolution, Old & New

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Ex Voto

Varallo Sesia

The Fair Haven

Christchurch City Library, New Zealand [ZB 823 BUT]

Gavottes, Minuets, Fugues

St John’s College Library, Cambridge

The Iliad: Rendered into English Prose

St John’s College Library, Cambridge

Life and Habit

Shrewsbury School

Life and Letters of Dr Samuel Butler

Shrewsbury School

Luck, or Cunning

Bodleian Library, Oxford [MS. Eng. misc. d. 96]

Narcissus: A Cantata

St John’s College Library, Cambridge (complete MS)

Chapin Library, Williams College (MS of part of the orchestral score and MS of the libretto)

British Library, London (MS of pianoforte score only) [Add MS 38176-38177]

Notebooks, assembled by Butler in 1901

Chapin Library, Williams College (Copy ‘A’ – the original “master copy”, in 8 volumes, containing additions and corrections by Butler).

British Library, London (Copy ‘B’ – a pressed copy of vols 1-6) [Add MS 44045-44050]

St John’s College Library, Cambridge (Copy ‘C’ – a second pressed copy of vols 1-6)

The Odyssey: Rendered into English Prose

Acireale, Sicily (complete MS)

St John’s College Library, Cambridge (MS of Books I-XII only)

Shakespeare’s Sonnets Reconsidered

Library of Congress, Washington [MMC-1053]

Ulysses: An Oratorio

St John’s College Library, Cambridge (complete MS)

Chapin Library, Williams College (MS of part of the orchestral score and MS of the libretto and pianoforte score)

British Library, London (MS of pianoforte score only) [Add MS 38176-38177]

Unconscious Memory

Cambridge University Library [MS Add.5977]

The Way of All Flesh

British Library, London [Add MS 39846-39847]