Selections and Essays

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C. Scribner's sons, 1918 - Literary Collections - 423 pages
 

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Page 297 - And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.
Page 394 - These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest ; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.
Page 130 - There has fallen a splendid tear From the passion-flower at the gate. She is coming, my dove, my dear; She is coming, my life, my fate; The red rose cries, " She is near, she is near;" And the white rose weeps, " She is late;" The larkspur listens, " I hear, I hear;" And the lily whispers,
Page 391 - Great peace have they which love thy law : and nothing shall offend them.
Page 129 - O come and hear him ! Thou who hast to me Been faithless, hear him, though a lowly creature, One of God's simple children that yet know not The universal Parent, how he sings. As if he wished the firmament of heaven Should listen, and give back to him the voice Of his triumphant constancy and love ; The proclamation that he makes, how far His darkness doth transcend our fickle light...
Page 126 - For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Page 39 - I think, the noblest sea that Turner has ever painted, and, if so, the noblest certainly ever painted by man, is that of the Slave Ship, the chief Academy picture of the Exhibition of 1840.
Page 59 - PERHAPS there is no more impressive scene on earth than the solitary extent of the Campagna of Rome under evening light. Let the reader imagine himself for a moment withdrawn from the sounds and motion of the living world, and sent forth alone into this wild and wasted plain. The earth yields and crumbles beneath his foot, tread he never so lightly, for its substance is white, hollow, and carious, like the dusty wreck of the bones of men.* The long knotted...
Page 405 - ... there's a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will.
Page 42 - Gather a single blade of grass, and examine for a minute, quietly, its narrow sword-shaped strip of fluted green. Nothing, as it seems there, of notable goodness or beauty. A very little strength, and a very little tallness, and a few delicate long lines meeting in a point, — not a perfect point neither, but blunt and unfinished, by no means a creditable or apparently much cared for example of Nature's workmanship ; made, as it seems, only to be trodden...

About the author (1918)

Ruskin was one of the most influential man of letters of the nineteenth century. An only child, Ruskin was born in Surrey. He attended Christ Church, Oxford, from 1839 to 1842. His ties to his parents, especially his mother, were very strong, and she stayed with him at Oxford until 1840, when, showing ominous signs of consumption, he left for a long tour of Switzerland and the Rhineland with both parents. His journeys to France, Germany, and, especially, Italy formed a great portion of his education. Not only did these trips give him firsthand exposure to the art and architecture that would be the focus of much of his long career; they also helped shape what he felt was his main interest, the study of nature. Around this time Ruskin met the landscape artist J. M. W. Turner, for whose work he had developed a deep admiration and whom he lauded in his Modern Painters (1843). In 1848 Ruskin married Euphemia (Effie) Gray, a distant cousin 10 years his junior. This relationship has been the focus of much scholarship, for six years later the marriage was annulled on the grounds of nonconsummation, and in 1855 Effie married John Everett Millais, the Pre-Raphaelite painter and an acquaintance of Ruskin. During the years 1849--52, Ruskin lived in Venice, where he pursued a course of architectural studies, publishing The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and where he began The Stones of Venice (1851--53). It was also during this period that Ruskin's evangelicalism weakened, leading finally to his "unconversion" at Turin in 1858. His subsequent interest in political economy was clearly stated when, echoing his "hero," Carlyle, Ruskin remarked in the last volume of Modern Painters that greed is the deadly principle that guides English life. In a series of essays in Cornhill Magazine attacking the "pseudo-science" of political economists like J. S. Mill, David Ricardo, and Thomas Malthus, Ruskin argues that England should base its "political economy" on a paternalistic, Christian-based doctrine instead of on competition. The essays were not well received, and the series was canceled short of completion, but Ruskin published the collected essays in 1862 as Unto This Last. At the same time, he renewed his attacks on the political economists in Fraser's Magazine, later publishing these essays as Munera Pulveris (1872). From about 1862 until his death, Ruskin unsuccessfully fought depression. He was in love with Rose La Touche, whom he met when she was 11 and he 41. When she turned 18, Ruskin proposed, but the her parents opposed the marriage, and religious differences (she was devout; Ruskin was at this time a freethinker) kept them from ever marrying. La Touche died in 1875, insane, and three years later Ruskin experienced the first of seven attacks of madness that would plague him over the next 10 years. By 1869 Ruskin had accepted the first Slade Professorship of Fine Art at Oxford, begun his serial Fors Clavigera, been sued and found guilty of libel for his attack on Whistler in Fors Clavigera (he was fined a farthing), and resigned his professorship. Ruskin's work was instrumental in the formation of art history as a modern discipline. A capable artist, he complemented his technical understanding of art with insightful analysis and passionately held social ideals. His social writings are of interest today primarily as artifacts of the age, but his art criticism still holds an important place, especially in his appreciation of Turner. There is a vast number of works on Ruskin. From a literary standpoint, John Rosenberg's study, although dated because of many of its assumptions, is still an outstanding book. Jay Fellows's work is interesting and has caused much controversy among Ruskin scholars.

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