Samuel Butler began to write The Way of All Flesh about the year 1872, and was engaged upon it intermittently until 1884. It is therefore, to a great extent, contemporaneous with Life and Habit, and may be taken as a practical illustration of the theory of heredity embodied in that book. He did not work at it after 1884, but for various reasons he postponed its publication. He was occupied in other ways, and he professed himself dissatisfied with it as a whole, and always intended to rewrite or at any rate to revise it. His death in 1902 prevented him from doing this, and on his death-bed he gave me clearly to understand that he wished it to be published in its present form. I found that the MS. of the fourth and fifth chapters had disappeared, but by consulting and comparing various notes and sketches, which remained among his papers, I have been able to supply the missing chapters in a form which I believe does not differ materially from that which he finally adopted. With regard to the chronology of the events recorded, the reader will do well to bear in mind that the main body of the novel is supposed to have been written in the year 1867, and the last chapter added as a postscript in 1882.
Richard Alexander Streatfeild (22 June 1866 – 6 February 1919) was an English musicologist and critic. His career was spent at the British Museum, although not in its music department. His publications included books on opera, Handel and modern music. He had literary interests, and arranged for posthumous publication of his friend Samuel Butler's The Way of All Flesh.
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