The Aesthetic and Critical Theories of John Ruskin

Ruskin -- The Tempest Inside

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

John D. Rosenberg, who has written brilliantly of the tempest raging within Ruskin in the 1860s (pp. 147-152), also points out: "Physically as well as intellectually he spent these ten years [after 1860] in transit, shifting from subject to subject as rapidly as he hastened from place to place, seeking an anchorage he could not find and fleeing from a chaos he was powerless to avoid" (p. 148). Similarly, John Lewis Bradley's fine introduction to his edition of The Letters of John Ruskin to Lord and Lady Mount-Temple (Ohio State University Press: n.p., 1964), pp. 4-5, states: "Most apparent about the Ruskin of the '60's is a growing discursiveness, an almost maniacal tendency to dart from one lecture hall to another, from one town to the next, to talk, and to write as well, on strikingly varied subjects. . . . With the death of his father in 1864 and the intensification of his passion for Rose La Touche, he casts himself into one activity after another."

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