The Invader Wore Slippers
John Banville introduces Hubert Butler’s masterful essays on Europe, following his volume of Butler’s essays on Ireland, The Eggman and the Fairies.
‘The breadth of Butler's interests and concerns is remarkable, even for a writer whose career spanned the greater part of a tumultuous century ... whether he is writing about wartime atrocities or local history, the slaughter of the Jews or Celtic hagiography, he speaks with authenticity. In this he is a member of a dying species.' – John Banville
‘Like Milosz from Poland or Holub from Czechoslovakia, Butler is a true cosmopolitan, and his writing has something of their unruffled astringency and meditative humour.’ – John Bayley
‘He has all the essayist’s gifts: a clear, strong prose, a fascination with everyday affairs and their significance sub specie æternitatis, a readiness to generalize, the ability to digress without wandering from the point, to inform without pedantry and enlighten without condescension, to give us pleasure simply by sharing his thoughts.’ – Hugh Bredin
‘Imagine an impossible combination of Flann O’Brien and Isaiah Berlin. Well, Butler comes close.’ – Ferdinand Mount
‘An odyssey, from Ireland to East, West and back again: stemming from and retuirning to an intellecutal tradition which takes in Montaigne and Turgenev as well as Swift and Shaw… It moves like a searchlight, to take in and illuminate the largest questions imaginable.’ - R.F. Foster
‘His passionate love of place, his patriotism, his almost provincial pleasure at the small change of rural life, pervade the essays. But he has from time to time rambled out from the banks of the Nore like a Kilkenny Don Quixote to make the world a better place. To follow Hubert Butler is to enjoy the hair-raising frisson of history passing by.’ – Eoghan Harris
In this video for Notting Hill Editions John Banville discusses Hubert Butler and his writing.
Also by Hubert Butler and introduced by John Banville: The Eggman and the Fairies: Irish Essays. Buy here.
Buy more books by Hubert Butler.
Buy more books by John Banville.