The Exquisite Tragedy: An Intimate Life of John Ruskin

By Amabel Williams-Ellis | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX

1859-1860: Aged 40-41



PROGRESS

Que l'admiration de la Beauté ait été en effet l'acte perpetuel de τa vie de Ruskin, cela peut être vrai à la lettre; mais j'estime que le but decette vie, son intention profonde, secrète, et constante, était autre.

Marcel Proust


1

ALICE MEYNELL, in the preface of her book of Ruskin extracts, says that he led an unhappy life because he could not perfectly renounce the world, deny himself, and submit himself, and all men, to the will of God. There was certainly a veil of compromise over everything he did. The military bands, the Sabbath-breaking and the partridges of Turin, certainly did him no lasting good; it was not long before a mood of disillusionment seems to have set in.

From now onward many of Ruskin's best letters were addressed to Professor Charles Eliot Norton, the Bostonian, with whom he had made friends. Norton had had very much the same sort of Puritan bringing up as Ruskin, and was besides soaked in the culture that has made such families as the Lowells and Jameses famous. Characteristically, the American was much more of a European than Ruskin. Cultivated, receptive, and a great collector of knowledge and persons, Norton was all on the side of good sense. He was shocked by the wilder, madder side of both Carlyle and Ruskin, but was at the same time too shrewd, and too truthful, an observer not to admit it. His was always a steadying influence, and the clarity of his perceptions stands in great contrast to the blindness of many members of Ruskin's circle. He was indeed a great admirer, who

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The Exquisite Tragedy: An Intimate Life of John Ruskin
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • AUTHOR'S PREFACE vii
  • Contents xi
  • PART I 1
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 14
  • Chapter IV 21
  • Chapter V 24
  • Chapter VI 37
  • Chapter VII 51
  • Chapter VIII 63
  • PART II 81
  • Chapter IX 81
  • Chapter X 89
  • Chapter XI 100
  • Chapter XII 106
  • Chapter XIII 115
  • Chapter XIV 124
  • Chapter XV 135
  • Chapter XVI 143
  • PART III 149
  • Chapter XVII 149
  • Chapter XVIII 159
  • Chapter XIX 169
  • Chapter XX 178
  • Chapter XXI 188
  • Chapter XXII 203
  • Chapter XXIII 214
  • Chapter XXIV 223
  • Chapter XXV 236
  • Chapter XXVI 248
  • Chapter XXVII 256
  • PART IV 265
  • Chapter XXVIII 265
  • Chapter XXIX 273
  • Chapter XXX 291
  • Chapter XXXI 299
  • Chapter XXXII 304
  • Chapter XXXIII 315
  • Chapter XXXIV 328
  • Chapter XXXV 336
  • CHRONOLOGY 343
  • Appendix A 359
  • APPENDIX B 361
  • APPENDIX C 363
  • Index 367
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