Erewhons of the Eye : Samuel Butler as Painter, Photographer, and Art Critic
Clothbound, sewn, jacketed, 356 pages, 6.25 x 9.25", 1988, 0-948462-01-9 (Reaktion Books)
With 180 illustrations, 20 in full color.
We've been distributing this book in North America for a number of years, and have the last 100 copies of this very remarkable monograph, but we haven't changed the price for the last 15 years. Aficionados of early photography will be amazed by what's been left out about Butler from most histories of the art.
Samuel Butler (1835-1902) has long been recognized as a great novelist, author of Erewhon and The Way of All Flesh. This groundbreaking book reveals in addition a pioneer of photography and art criticism. Superbly illustrated, and including 80 rare photographs never before published — Erewhons of the Eye demonstrates how Butler made a substantial contribution to both the practice and the criticism of the visual arts. As Elinor Shaffer writes, "One of the most compelling interests of Butler's life in art is the sense it conveys of how tortuous and unexpected the route may be to the styles of the next generation. . . . The primitive and the naive, children's painting, 'art brut,' the fantastic map, the cartoon and the caricature, ironization of styles, verist sculpture, the photograph, and the literary text linked to the visual illustration in such a way as to lift and lighten the authority of the text alone — all these were explored, promoted, collected or practiced by Butler."
"As this critical-biographical study makes clear, Butler was ... a pioneering photographer, an interesting minor painter, and an important force in art criticism." — Washington Post Book World
"A significant addition to the literature on Butler [and] to the broader fields of Victorian art, photography, scholarship and culture, and to the relationship between pictorial and literary creativity." — Choice
"Though Butler's name may be unfamiliar to today's American audiences [for photography], he emerges as a major artistic influence of the pre-Modern era." — Daile Kaplan, Photographia
"Erewhons of the Eye is an unusual, subtle and exceptionally interesting book" — Times Higher Educational Supplement