I have always regarded post 115, “The Ruskin Compendia,”, as one of the most important entries in this extended series of quotations from Ruskin emphasizing the importance of him and his work for our still struggling modern world. For those who have not spent any time looking at this particular Post, it is primarily comprised of a list of all the books – at least all the books I’m of which I’m aware (complete with publication data)– that were issued either during the latter part of Ruskin’s lifetime or in the first decade and a half after his death in 1900, books which celebrated his time with us by excerpting some elegant passages from his voluminous writings. Whether the 21st century reader is interested in perusing the best of his pages celebrating nature, art, architecture, social matters, or religion–to name just a few topics– there is one, and often more, compendia dedicated to presenting the best of such pennings. While such collections have their shortcomings – primarily because, usually of necessity, they excerpt only a portion of a longer passage on a given topic or overlook other passages that may elaborate on that topic longer or better or both– I have repeatedly found that they have their value.
No matter what he wrote, Ruskin’s intent was always to inspire, either with a paean celebrating the wondrous things that existed in the world around us to which we had given too little attention or by telling us how we had, however unthinkingly or foolishly, despoiled these life-affirming things. These compendia, written by all manner of folks–from literary geniuses to academics to just plain intelligent but admiring readers–are all intended, in their various ways, to “bring us back to Ruskin.” Making Post 115 more valuable, at least in my view, is the fact that I know all of the volumes it lists at firsthand, either because I have my own copies of them, or because, from one direction or another, they have come to my attention over the years. This familiarity has allowed me the chance to include, along with the list, “capsule reviews,” of each entry, making their selection by potential readers easier, should anyone desire to locate a copy.
While other great writers –Shakespeare or Plato or Dante, say– have compendia of their own, often numbering in the dozens of titles, Ruskin, because of his importance in the culture of his time, was no slouch, as the length of Post 115 demonstrates, at stimulating such collections. Hence, it should come as no surprise that, in the few years that have vanished into the ether since this Post first appeared, I have come across other volumes in the genre. As a consequence, I have, from time to time, interpolated information about these “new” collections into Post 115. However, at this moment, I have I decided that I have now come across so many more compendia celebrating Ruskin–volumes that, previously, I knew nothing about–that it was time to alert readers of this blog that there has been a serious updating and extension of the volumes mentioned in the original Post, along with a suggestion that it may would be well worth your time, if I have kindled any interest in Ruskin in you, for you to review the list to see if there’s anything that wasn’t on it before that might now reignite your interest.
And so, here is a link to the Updated Post: http://Post 115: The Ruskin Compendia If, perchance, as you scan it, you notice that there is a particular compendium I do not list, I earnestly suggest that you be in touch with me about it– try either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org–so that I can obtain a copy of the missing item and insert what I think about it in a later updating.
REMINDERS: this also seemed a good moment, to alert readers, particularly those who are new to the series, of some important navigational tools on the site. First, whenever you open any Post you will find, on the right-hand column underneath the banner, that the previous 10 posts are listed sequentially by title. Each of these is a “live link;” so, if you click on any of these posts, you’ll be taken directly to it. Second, and also on the right-hand column, you will find, a little further down, a box bearing the title, “Previous Posts by Topic.” If you open any of these categories, which bear designators like “Tributes,” “Society,” and “Nature,” you will be taken to the first in a series of previously published posts where Ruskin comments either briefly or at length on the subject. Third, and again on the right-hand column, you will discover, yet a little further down, a search box wherein you can enter a “Key Words or Phrases:” clicking on the search option will cause Word Press to search all the quotes published thus far that include the word or phrase (e.g., “Turner,” “political economy”). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, if you scroll to the top of any post, you will come to the banner that introduces “Why Ruskin” as a website; at the bottom of the banner, at the far right, you’ll find an option “Previous Posts in Sequence”; and, if you click on that, you will be taken to the complete list of over 200 previous posts; each of these, like the option to view the last 10 posts mentioned above, is a “live link,” and so, if you click on any one you will be taken directly to that post. All posts can be copied and cut and pasted into your own system if you choose. I merely ask that, if you ever decide to use these in your own work, you indicate that the material was found on the “Why Ruskin” blog site, and provide for your readers the URL to the site (whyruskin.online)
That’s it! The idea behind all these “tools,” being to make navigation of “Why Ruskin” easier. If you encounter any problems with any of these navigational suggestions, do please let me know. Happy reading!
In the meantime, until next time, do continue well out there!