Matthews, Jodie (2012) Being Cut Off from All One’s Kind: Samuel Butler, New Zealand, and Colonial Identity. In: Islands and Britishness: A Global Perspective. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Newcastle on Tyne, pp. 245-260. ISBN 9781443835169
Abstract

In the autobiographical A First Year in a Canterbury Settlement (1863)
and in his utopian/dystopian novel, Erewhon (1872), both Samuel Butler
and the undesignated narrator depart the British metropole and embark on
risky sea voyages in order to make a name for themselves on a group of
islands almost as far away as it is possible to get.1 The world of Erewhon
is usually read as a satire on British Victorian society, but this chapter
proposes that it can also be seen as replaying Butler’s arrival in New
Zealand and the destabilising effects of colonialism on the colonising
subject. A work of fiction and an ostensibly autobiographical text are thus
read together to reveal, first, the way that anticipated readership frames
that which can be spoken about colonial voyages; second, the traumatic
effects of long sea passages; and, third, the ways in which the effects of
distance between colony and metropole affect communication and
subjectivity.

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