Skip to main content
The Life of the World to Come 369
To this must be added my book on the Sonnets in respect of
which I have had no account as yet but am over a hundred
pounds out of pocket by it so farólittle of which, I fear, is
ever likely to come back.
It will be noted that my public appears to be a declining
one ; I attribute this to the long course of practical boycott
to which I have been subjected for so many years, or, if not
boycott, of sneer, snarl and misrepresentation. I cannot help
it, nor if the truth were known, am I at any pains to try to
If I deserve to be remembered, it will be not so much for
anything I have written, or for any new way of looking at old
facts which I may have suggested, as for having shown that a
man of no special ability, with no literary connections, not
particularly laborious, fairly, but not supremely, accurate as
far as he goes, and not travelling far either for his facts or
from them, may yet, by being perfectly square, sticking to
his point, not letting his temper run away with him, and
biding his time, be a match for the most powerful literary
and scientific coterie that England has ever known.
I hope it may be said of me that I discomfited an unscru-
pulous, self-seeking clique, and set a more wholesome example
myself. To have done this is the best of all discoveries.
Doubt and Hope
I will not say that the more than coldness with which my
books are received does not frighten me and make me distrust
myself. It must do so. But every now and then I meet with
* Butler made this note in 1899 before the publication of Shake-
pear e's Sonnets Reconsidered, which was published in the same year.
The Odyssey Rendered into English Prose appeared in 1900 and Erewhon
Revisited, the last book published in his lifetime, in 1901. He made
no analysis of the sales of these three books, nor of the sales of A First
Vear in Canterbury Settlement published in 1863, nor of his pamphlet
The Evidence for the Resurrection, published in 1865. The Way of all
Flesh and Essays on Life, Art, and Science were not published till
alter his death. I do not know what he means by A Book of Essayst
unless it may be that he incurred an outlay of £3 us. 9d. in connection
with a projected republication of his articles in the Universal Review
or of some of his Italian articles about the Odyssey.