Dreams of an English Eden: Ruskin and His Tradition in Social Criticism

Dreams of an English Eden: Ruskin and His Tradition in Social Criticism

Dreams of an English Eden: Ruskin and His Tradition in Social Criticism

Dreams of an English Eden: Ruskin and His Tradition in Social Criticism

Excerpt

Render honour to whom honour is due. The command is a good one, even if it were not found in the Bible. . . . But then the question now is--To whom is honour due: Is it due to vice and villainy--to those who impoverish and oppress mankind--to those who will give no right and hear no reason? . . . to call a downright scoundrel a Right Honourable Gentleman, is practical falsehood, and such an inversion of the order and fitness of things as must ultimately subvert both Justice and Peace, the two grand pillars on which the moral and the civil world entirely depend.

The Beggar's Complaint Against Rack-rent Landlords, Corn Factors, Great Farmers, Monopolizers . . . by One Who Pities the Oppressed, 1812

We will have . . . chivalry gentle always and lowly, among those who deserved their name of knight; showing mercy to whom mercy was due, and honour to whom honour.

It exists yet, and out of La Mancha, too (or none of us could exist), whatever you may think in these days of ungentleness and Dishonour. It exists secretly, to the full, among you yourselves, and the recovery of it again would be to you as the opening of a well in the desert.

Fors Clavigera, Letter 9 (September 1871)

HE CALLED himself "the Don Quixote of Denmark Hill," --not without a certain bitterness. The chivalry of Cervantes' woeful knight was real to Ruskin and his story one in which "the most touching valour and tenderness are rendered vain by madness" (XXXVII:17). In his . . .

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