The Gulf of Years: Letters from John Ruskin to Kathleen Olander

The Gulf of Years: Letters from John Ruskin to Kathleen Olander

The Gulf of Years: Letters from John Ruskin to Kathleen Olander

The Gulf of Years: Letters from John Ruskin to Kathleen Olander

Excerpt

There can be few men whose life and opinions have been more assiduously documented than John Ruskin. It might seem that nothing of significance could escape the net cast by those great editors, Cook and Wedderburn, in their diligent preparation of a Library Edition, thirtynine volumes in extent, of Ruskin's Works. Every student is indebted to them, and every subsequent study has taken this monument of scholarship as the definitive and authoritative statement of Ruskin's life-work. Cook himself, as a literary executor, had the opportunity to collect together and incorporate any unpublished peripheral material that threw light on Ruskin's character. The partiality of his selection has only in recent years been realized.

The present volume should never have been published by itself. Its place is amongst the correspondence of Ruskin's later years, and a page or two in the last chapters of his biography; for no one who reads these letters would deny that Kathleen Olander was uppermost in Ruskin's mind during the last creative period of writing that he was granted in life. It was to her he turned during the mental darkness of the winter he spent alone at Sandgate, and it was for her he wrote in his elation the epilogue to Modern Painters on his last visit to Chamonix.

In the letters that follow, Ruskin takes the initiative in his own affairs for the last time. They are the last moves . . .

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