Being a list of the published “selections” of Ruskin’s passages and writings. Some entries, identified by an asterisk *, have some publication data missing; if anyone reading this list can supply this, please do!.
*Atwell, Henry. Thoughts from Ruskin. 1901.
Ball, A. H. R. Ruskin as Literary Critic: Selections. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ., 1928.
Exactly what it purports to be, a concentration of Ruskin’s literary remarks (on Dickens, Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot, others) and statements about what constitutes great literature and its lamentable opposite. Ball’s choices span the whole of Ruskin’s writing life and, for that reason, are very much worth your time.
Bateman, M. A. and Grace Allen. A Ruskin Birthday Book. London: George Allen, 1883
A wonderful collection. Not really “selections” but, rather, “aphorisms,” extracted from throughout his works. One for every day of the year! (Marvelous for daily inspiration!) There is a story that, when the editors gave an early copy of their collection to Ruskin, he, convinced at the time that all his work had failed, was moved to tears. One can understand why, for the title page has been created with his deepest empathies in mind–surrounded by a gothic frame, the principal letters of the book’s title begin with beautiful medieval-style illuminated letters. At the bottom of the page the editors have included, as a frame for their entries, one of Ruskin’s finest quotes–from St. Mark’s Rest. It is emblematic of the 365 quotations on the interior (plus twelve longer passages to start each month!). I’ve reproduced the lines below.
Beever, Susanna. Frondes Agrestes: Readings in Modern Painters. London: George Allen, 1884.
A selection of her favorite passages taken from the five volumes of that remarkable series. One of the great friends of Ruskin’s life, Beever showed him her choices before publishing. He changed nothing, but, in various places, added his thoughts about the importance of this or that passage in a footnote. A delightful read.
Benson, A. C. Selections from John Ruskin. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ., 1927
One of the very best collections: from a reader who thoroughly understands his subject.
Birch, Dinah. Ruskin: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009.
Bragg, Melvyn. John Ruskin On Genius. London: Hesperus, 2011.
Cardwell, Mary E. Cameos from Ruskin. New York: Charles Merrill, 1890.
A jaunty little collection. More aphoristic even than the aphoristic Ruskin Birthday Book. Some of its entries, arranged under various heads–e.g., “Great Art Accepts Nature as She Is,” are a bit too brief for my taste, but others are perfectly apt and powerful.
Clark, Sir Kenneth. Ruskin Today. London: John Murray, 1967.
Sir Kenneth, host of the much applauded BBC TV series of the late 1960s, “Civilization” (still very much worth viewing; streaming on YouTube in the US), was a life-long admirer of Ruskin. This is a terrific collection of Ruskin “passages,” the second I ever read (in 1990; the first being John Rosenberg’s; see below); I recall being enthralled with each selection, realizing for the first time, as Sir Kenneth’s pages turned, that Ruskin was not just a great social critic (my original attraction), but a brilliant observer of almost everything that matters in life.
Clark, Thomas A. Ruskin Sketchbook. London: Coracle, 1879.
[Collingwood, W. G.] Selections from the Writings of John Ruskin: First Series: 1843-1861. London: George Allen, 1893).
[Collingwood, W. G.] Selections from the Writings of John Ruskin: Second Series: 1862-1888. London: George Allen, 1893.
Although the typically self-effacing Collingwood would not allow his name to be placed on these volumes, they are indeed his collations and, because his love and understanding of Ruskin and of what he was trying to accomplish, were without par, of all the compendia, these are most representative and, in my view, best.
[Collingwood, W. G.] The Ruskin Treasuries (London: George Allen, 1906).
A series of tiny books (each fits nicely in a shirt pocket or purse), all of which are dedicated to a central theme in Ruskin’s work. Edited by Collingwood (who again goes unnoticed in the role), they are quite marvelous, a goodly step above the aphoristic efforts noted above, but not as extended in entry length as the volumes containing “selections.” Very hard to find. Here are some titles: Ruskin on Liberty and Government; Ruskin on Religion; Ruskin on Wealth; Ruskin on Art.
Collingwood, W. G. The Ruskin Reader. London: George Allen, 1907.
A small collection of W. G. C.’s favorites, a distinction that makes them worth reading from the get-go. Also, for the only time, we have a collection to which he was willing to affix his name. Easy to carry when traveling.
Davis, Philip. John Ruskin: Selected Writings. London: Everyman, 1995.
Evans, Joan. The Lamp of Beauty. London: Phaidon, 1959.
Most of the compendia are, as books, unimposing; their casings plain, their colors pallid, even if, happily, inside, the prose entrances. As a book, Evans’ is the cream of the crop: artfully presented on the outside and laden with wonderful passages within, with, in attendance in many instances (one of the few instances in the compendia “world” where this happens), fine illustrations of the pictures or places Ruskin is describing. In short, an aesthetic as well as a literary gem.
Gardner, Rose. The Pocket Ruskin. London: Routledge, 1907.
One of my all-time favorites. Like Benson, Kenneth Clark, and the various Collingwoods, Gardner really knows her Ruskin. The choices are glorious.
Gibbs, Mary and Ellen. The Bible References of John Ruskin. London: George Allen, 1898.
As advertised. Ruskin was one of the world’s great Biblical scholars. As a result, references or allusions to this sacred text are found in virtually every one of his books, lectures, or essays, sometimes many at once! On more than a few occasions, he would reflect at some length on the deeper meaning of the Bible’s stories, themes, or principal arguments. This is a collection of such comments.
Ginn, Edward. Selections from Ruskin. Boston: Ginn Publishers, 1888.
Herbert, Robert L. The Art Criticism of John Ruskin. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1964).
Hewetson, E. M. A Book of Ruskin. London and New York: Thomas Nelson, 1927).
A special member of the tribe. Hewetson takes a “biographical” approach, presenting his selections only after he has first given his reader a sampling of passages Ruskin wrote about his own life. The result is entrancing and, for anyone interested in seeing how Ruskin’s works reflected his passing decades, this is a good way to begin.
Osborn, Frederick. Selections, Moral and Religious from the Works of John Ruskin. Boston: Richard Badger, 1917.
Most editors of a compendium open with a short preface and, often, an introductory chapter covering Ruskin’s career, complete with an explanation explaining why he is so vital to read. Then, however thematically arranged their selected passages might be, the editors disappear, leaving their selections to speak for themselves. For contrast, Osborn makes substantive comments before or after his selections, placing all in a “modern” cultural context. A unique and valuable approach.
Porter, Rose. Nature Studies from Ruskin. Boston: Dana Estes, 1900.
This is a stupendous collection, a delight for anyone interested in Ruskin’s breath-taking descriptions of nature, of streams, flowers, clouds, moss, fields, mountains, and much more! The collection to immerse yourself in every year as spring comes around. As you read, and having read, look about, you will see nature in ways you never did before. A true and enduring delight.
Quennell, Peter. Selected Writings of John Ruskin. London: Falcon, 1952.
*Rhys, Ernest. The Two Boyhoods and Other Selections on Life and Art by John Ruskin. 1914.
Roe, Frederick R. Selections and Essays by John Ruskin. New York: Scribner’s, 1918.
Rosenberg, John. The Genius of John Ruskin. New York: Columbia Univ., 1964.
Along with Van Akin Burd, Rosenberg was the scholar most responsible for reigniting the just barely smouldering embers of Ruskin’s reputation in the 1960s. This collection of longer passages — often entire lectures or chapters from books — was the first “Ruskin” I read, the book that showed me that, in Ruskin, I had at last found the moral sociologist for whom I had long been looking–included, for example, are three of Unto this Last’s four essays. It was the hunt for and discovery of the “missing” Unto this Last essay that led me to the “life of Ruskin” I’ve been enjoying ever since. Rosenberg’s respect for his subject is clearly evident in his title and remains evident in every selection and introduction. An essential collection. For anyone not enthused with devoting some dozens of hours to one of Ruskin’s four hundred page books, this is a fine starting point, because the selections—on nature, architecture, art, society—are drawn from all periods of Ruskin’s writing life.
Scudder, Vida. An Introduction to the Writings of John Ruskin. Boston: BIbley, 1890.
Another wonderful collection from one who thoroughly understood Ruskin and his work. Indeed, Scudder heard Ruskin lecture during his last teaching term at Oxford during the mid-1880s. It was that experience that made her into an advocate of his thought, and which, just a few years after her return to the US, led to this edition, a selection published while he still lived. Like Osburn and Rosenberg, Scudder writes most helpful “Introductions” for each of her themed sections. Not to be missed.
Sims, A. E. A Ruskin Calendar. New York: Crowell, 1911.
I haven’t delved into this one in any depth, but enough to know that it is of the “aphoristic” variety, its selections chosen with less knowledge of Ruskin than, say, The Ruskin Birthday Book.
Sinclair, William. Selections from the Writings of John Ruskin. Edinburgh: Nimmo, Hay, and Mitchell, 1907.
A collection which uses the same format and many of the same selections as Collingwood’s “First Series” (see above). Some of Sinclair’s selections are different, however. In addition, some are longer, some shorter, and, at the back, there’s a series of “Miscellaneous” passages not included in the Collingwood volume.
Tinker, Chauncey. Selections from the Works of John Ruskin. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1908.
Tuthill, Mrs. L. C. True and Beautiful. Boston: Merrill, 1854—and subsequent editions
One, if not the very first, of the compendia, consisting entirely of selections from Ruskin’s earliest writings: the five Modern Painters volumes, The Seven Lamps of Architecture, and The Stones of Venice. Tuthill’s book proved so successful, updated editions appeared over the course of ensuing decades.
*Wertberg, Caroline. Pen Pictures from Ruskin. 1901
[No editor or date is supplied in the publications below.]
Master Painters: Titian: Selections from John Ruskin. Toronto: Mission Books, n.d..
Master Painters: Turner: Selections from John Ruskin Toronto: Mission Books, n.d..
Selections from the Writings of John Ruskin: First Series: 1843-1861. London: George Allen, n.d.
I suspect that W. G. Collingwood was the unidentified editor of this and the following item, of which there were various editions — JS.
Selections from the Writings of John Ruskin: Second Series: 1862-1888. London: George Allen, n.d.
Last modified 6 March 2018