The Aesthetic and Critical Theories of John Ruskin

Ruskin's Religious Readings, 1851-1852

George P. Landow, Professor of English and Art History, Brown University

See for example "Protestantism and Popery " Sermons (1854) I, 307-319. Ruskin's bitterly anti-Catholic mother was greatly troubled by his new attitudes toward religion. After their return from Venice Effie wrote to her mother that "Mrs R goes to such extremes of anti-popery that I am really afraid of her tormenting John into being more with them than he otherwise would.... She says we have been living for a year amongst idolators and infidels and that for that time we have not heard a word of truth. She abuses the Austrians and holds up the Hungarians and Italians by the Hour and if we say anything she says we know nothing but lies. John says he never heard anything like her and that you are nothing to her now she abuses the Jesuits far more than ever you did" (Millais and the Ruskins, 16). Effie wrote not from tolerance but from an equal desire to protect Ruskin from Roman Catholicism and her letters prompted her mother Mrs. Gray to write to her son-in-law to warn him of the dangers of the Papists.


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