This title was first published in 2001. Ruskin said that 1860 marked the beginning of his 'proper work'. This study presents new, historicized readings of important texts and themes from that late period, 1860-1889, discussing in detail works including Unto this Last (1860), the Lectures on Art (1870), Fors Clavigera (1871-1884), and The Bible of Amiens (1880-85), and considering key themes such as Ruskin's politicized regard for Pre-Raphaelitism in the 1870s, and the complex topic of Ruskin and manliness. Claiming new and distinctive importance for this period of Ruskin's work, both in terms of Ruskin's development as a writer and his place in Victorian culture as it moved toward modernity, this book is the first solely devoted to the prolific later years, and draws on much unpublished material.
'Here's a good book about Ruskin's late work, a frequently overlooked, often maligned portion of his remarkable output. Thanks to Francis O'Gorman's ability to recontextualize much of that work, the barriers which have kept scholars from seriously studying most of these writings should finally fall and a fresh reading begin…(O'Gorman) has gone far toward rehabilitating Ruskin's late works, he has pointed implicitly to the real reason Ruskin is so often relegated to scholarly back shelves.' Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies 'O'Gorman's ability to see the interconnections among Ruskin's faith, mythography, historiography, and social conscience is one of the great strengths of this detailed, complex, and lucid study… a study that warms to Ruskin and attempts a more inclusive view of the rich complexity of his thought, not only aesthetic but social, and the ways that the demands of biography, politics, and performance inform it, one should turn to O'Gorman.' Victorians Institute Journal '…fills a gap in criticism of Ruskin's works in the middle and later period of his life…O'Gorman has given a new direction to Ruskin research through his original thinking, his gaze at Ruskin and his reinterpretation of Ruskin's gaze…This is a scholarly, well-researched book written in a lively, immediate and relaxed style with the advantage of having each chapter as an independent, yet interlinked, unit. It benefits from a meticulous examination of much unpublished material in libraries… so enabling us to see new facets of Ruskin hitherto concealed.' Nineteenth-Century Contexts 'Ruskin scholars should be grateful to Francis O'Gorman for (his) new book … Although the book's aims are modest, I found it consistently engaging, persuasive, and well-written. In particular O'Gorman is to be commended for having mastered the substantial and relatively understudied Ruskin corpus after Unto This Last.' Studies in English Literature 'O'Gorman's careful and sympathetic book provides the narrative of self which links the parts to the whole of this sad and visionary man.' Review of English Studies 'O'Gorman's ability to see the interconnections among Ruskin's faith, mythography, historiography, and social conscience is one of the great strengths of this detailed, complex, and lucid study.' Victorians Institute Journal '… full of novel, thought-provoking interpretations.' Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies
Contents: Introduction; ’An entirely honest merchant’: the domestic context of Unto this Last (1860); ’What I might myself have been’: Sesame and Lilies (1865) and the occasion of autobiography; ’The beginning of art is in getting our country clean’: the Inaugural Lectures on Art (1870); ’Do good work whether you live or die’: Fors Clavigera, usefulness, and the crisis of the Commune; ’Decent, trim, as human dwellings should be’: Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelite imagination of the 1870s; ’Just the thing for girls - sketching, fine art and so on’: Ruskin and manliness, 1870-1920; ’Oh fast whirling reader’: The Bible of Amiens (1880-85), tolerance, and autobiography; Bibliography of works cited; Index.
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