Erewhon Author:Samuel Butler Erwewhon is the second greatest satire of the nineteenth century, but Butler's target is not so broad as that of Swift, who strikes out savagely at all mankind in Gulliver's Travels. Butler attacks the Victorian Age, with its mixture of hard-core materialsim and pseudo-idealism. The satire is carried alternately by Higgs and the Erewhonians - wh... more »en Higgs is being Victorian, the Erewhonians are sensible, and vice versa. Higgs can see the ridiculousness of the Colleges of Unreason and the hypocrisy of the Musical Banks, and can protest against the materialism of Erewhon, and yet is himself guilty of the same sins when he plans to sell the Erewhonians into slavery in order to convert them to Christianity.
The various targets and methods of satire are the chief sources of interest in Erewhon. The characterization is thin. As one critic puts it, "Ideas are the heroes of Erewhon." But the opening section is of particular interest as an adventure story, with magnificent New Zealand settings. It carries the reader into the somewhat academic core of the book, where he becomes caught up in the intellectual delight of the ideas, and the devastating digs at so much of Victorian England that is still with us today.« less