Welcome to “Why Ruskin”

The goal of this site is to introduce readers to the remarkable thought of the great 19th Century British Art and Social Critic, John Ruskin. Even though his is hardly a household name these days, it is my deep and enduring belief that Ruskin’s brilliant thought and carefully worked out ideas (always encased in glorious prose) still retain great relevancy for our modern days, offering new ways of thinking about and, quite possibly, if put into practice, alleviating or lessening many of the troubles which still beset us. But there is second level to Ruskin’s genius, his unparalleled ability to make the beauty of this world and life come alive in his paragraphs. I am hopeful that, after reading some of the posts you might be inclined to agree with these assessments.

If you are a First Time Visitor, I recommend that you begin by reading the First Post: “An Introduction to this Site” (to do this, just click on the underlined passage). Using a number of Ruskin’s best quotes, this initial offering outlines the site’s history and goals. If, after reading it, you’d like to read other Posts, three are two options. You can go to the top of this screen and, under the banner, chose the Page, “Previous Posts in Sequence”; this will take you to a list of all of the site’s posts; chick any one and you will be taken to it. Alternatively, you can slide your cursor to the right side of this screen and click on the Drop Down “Previous Posts by Topic,” choose a “Category,” click on that, and a list will appear which names all the Posts which pertain to the topic. As a third option, if you’d like to read an overview explaining how I came to admire Ruskin as much as I do, complete with examples demonstrating why that judgment is sound, you can have a look at my essay,  “Why Ruskin?”

More information about Ruskin and myself will be found in the Pages which are listed on the navigation bar beneath the banner photographs. The most recently published Post can always be read below this “Welcome” note (just scroll down). If you’d like to be notified of  subsequent Posts as they publish, as I hope you will, just click on the “FOLLOW” button at the top of the right hand column and type in your email address.  Questions, suggestions, or comments are always welcome.  The lovely drawing–there are many more!–of a peacock’s and a falcon’s feather, is Ruskin’s.

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145: Failing

Failing! What business has anybody to fail??

These two sentences appear at the beginning of the 26th letter of Ruskin’s Fors Clavigera series. They were set down during the early days of January 1873, by which time the author of them had been long convinced that his early works on art and architecture of the 1840s and 1850s had been wastes of time and that his sociological works of the 1860s had been equally disastrous because of their, by then, demonstrable inability to secure their intent of moving a self-seeking, money mad world toward the good, days when the love of his life, Rose La Touche, was slowly losing her mind as she wasted away from the advancing effects of intractable anorexia nervosa. (Rose would die in May, 1875, a heart-breaking shell of her former self; Ruskin never got over it.)

All that understood, work remained to be done. “Failure!? What business has anybody to fail??” he asks. And while there are many sentences which could be chosen as being emblematic of the character of the man who has been the subject of these many posts, none would serve in this capacity better than these two.

Until next time!

Be well out there!

🙂

Jim

P.S.: The remainder of Fors Letter 26 is an exposition on the true nature of St. George, England’s patron saint, whose charge was to protect his nation by destroying its enemies and all evil.

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