The Life of John Ruskin

The Life of John Ruskin

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The Life of John Ruskin

The Life of John Ruskin

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Excerpt

The principal material on which this Biography is founded consists of Ruskin's diaries, note-books, and letters which have been placed at my disposal by his executors. The diaries, though some years and events are not included, are a main authority for the Life. They are supplemented by a large collection of letters to his parents, which are preserved at Brantwood. During Ruskin's absences from home, he wrote almost daily, and sometimes more than once a day, to his father, or to his mother, or to both The letters to his father (who died in 1864) are fuller than those to his mother. After her death in 1871, their place is partly taken by letters to Mrs. Arthur Severn, to whose friendly assistance I am much indebted. Letters to many other correspondents are also used in this Biography; and I am especially grateful to the family of the late Professor Norton, and to his publishers, Messrs. Houghton, Mifflin & Company, for their kind and gracious permission to make large use of his letters.

Other important material for a Life of Ruskin is to be found in his own books, and especially in Prœterita and Fors Clavigera. Upon this material also I have been allowed by his executors to draw unreservedly. Prœterita is only a fragment of autobiography. It deals hardly at all with Ruskin's later years; and, in the years with which it does deal, it leaves many gaps. It is fullest in the record of his childhood. My first two chapters might have been made much longer, but that Prœterita covers the ground. Here and there, both in those chapters and elsewhere, I have quoted from it; but as far as possible I have drawn upon autobiographical passages scattered elsewhere in Ruskin's writings. The Autobiographical Notes," which are occasionally quoted, are manuscript passages not included by . . .

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