Decorative Initial Ruskin reads the book of nature anew, in the light of Calvin and Wesley, a reading that is, finally, quite different in emphasis from other Victorian readings, such as the sacramentally directed one of the Tractarians. In the most remarkable way, then, Ruskin accommodates romantic nature to the covenant theology of the Reformed tradition, and so enables a large-scale interpretative project, whose focus it is to explicate the meaning of nature's covenant. Covenant theology had proved especially fertile in England from the seventeenth century, and it took on renewed life in Wesleyanism and the subsequent Evangelicalism of Ruskin's time. One of Ruskin's primary endeavors is to show the religious meaningfulness of this theology by mediating the terms of its application to natural forms and perceptual experience. Such a mediation gave him both a work of devotion, that was religiously directed, and a theology of landscape (if the legitimacy of so apparently willful a concept may be admitted), that was poetically efficacious, allowing Ruskin to describe romantic nature in typologically explicit terms

Last modified 2000

6 May 2019