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and manufacture. Incomes should be confined to some fixed maximum. Every boy and girl should be educated but not learned in books except in cases of special aptitude. The speedy abolition of all abolishable filth is the first process of education. No government is efficient unless it sees that everyone has the necessaries of life for body and soul. Personal property should be allowed but interest abolished.
During the remaining forty years of his life Ruskin taught these doctrines in a long series of brilliant lectures and essays. Of these the chief were “ Unto This Last” 1860, “ Munera Pulveris ” 1862—3, “The Crown of Wild Olive ” 1864–5,“ Sesame and Lilies” 1865, and
Fors Clavigera ” 1871–84. But he did more than write. He tried to live his doctrines. He taught night school in a workman's college. He founded a workman's guild. He regenerated the London tenements which he had inherited from his father. He organized and aided with his own hands a brigade to clear streets. He set his Oxford classes at work mending roads. He gave away the property which he had inherited and was thus compelled in his old age to subsist on the income from his books. Though he himself despaired of success in his efforts to regenerate mankind, both his example and his precepts have had an enormous influence. The heresy of 1860 has become the commonplace of to-day, and many of his ideas are already written upon the statute books of England and America.
Nor did the unpopularity of 1860 long continue. Even Oxford, stronghold though it was of ancient privilege, in 1869 elected him Slade Professor of Art. He held this position with one break of six years until 1884; founded and endowed with lavish generosity a school of drawing there; delivered to large and enthusiastic audiences several brilliant courses of lectures, notable among which are Aratra Pentelici” 1870, "The Eagle's Nest" 1872, “ Ariadne Florentina” 1872, and "Love's Meinie" 1873; and drew round him a small circle of young men who helped in later years to carry the torch he had kindled and laid in their hands. Failing health and the endowment by the university of a chair of vivisection led him finally to sever his connection with Oxford.
His father had died 1864, his mother 1871. The most childlike, dutiful, and affectionate of sons, he had never had until the latter date any home of his own, living with them at Herne Hill until 1843 and afterward in a larger house at Denmark Hill. In 1872 he bought the little estate of Brantwood on Coniston Water in North Lancashire, which became his home for the rest of his life and which was made all that a home could be by the presence and care of his cousin, Miss Agnew. Here, between 1885 and 1889, he wrote “ Præterita,” an informal autobiography, which tells the story of his life down to 1864; and here, on January 20, 1900, he died. He was buried at Coniston and a monument erected to him in Westminster Abbey.
“Modern Painters” is in great measure already obsolete, but “ The Seven Lamps ” and the “ Stones of Venice” will probably survive. Of his later writings "Unto This Last,” “The Two Paths,” “ The Crown of Wild Olive,” “ Sesame and Lilies,” and many parts of “ Fors Clavigera " have a permanent place in literature. “Præterita” has as high and secure a rank as any of these.
His style, like all great literary styles, grew from the imitation of the masters whom he had loved, tempered by his own individuality, environment, and purposes. He himself tells us that it was his custom throughout life frankly to imitate whatever he was reading with admiration. His chief models were Hooker, Byron, Homer, Bunyan, Walter Scott, and the Bible. The result, as may be seen from the following passages, was an extraordinary richness and charm:
“It is extremely interesting to me to contrast the Englishman's silently conscious pride in what he is, with the vexed restlessness of the Frenchman in his thirst for 'gloire' to be gained by agonized efforts to become something he is not.”
“During these continental journeys Johnson was the one author accessible to me. No other writer could have secured me, as he did, against all chance of being misled by my own sanguine and metaphysical temperament. He taught me carefully to measure life and distrust fortune; and he secured me, by his adamantine commonsense, forever, from being caught in the cobwebs of German metaphysics, or sloughed in the English drainage of them."
“Setting my rooms in order has, through life, been an occasional complacent recreation to me; but I have never succeeded in keeping them in order three days after they were in it.”
“If you do a foolish thing you suffer for it exactly the same whether you do it piously or not."
“ There is no other such piece of beauty and power (he is talking of the Simplon Pass), full of human interest of the most strangely varied kind, in all the mountain scenery of the globe, as that traverse, with its two terminal cities, Geneva and Milan; its two lovely lakes of approach, Leman and Maggiore; its two tremendous valleys of vestibule, the Valais and Val d'Ossola; and its own, not desolate nor terrible, but wholly beautiful, upper region of rose and snow.'
“ If I get tiresome, the reader must skip; I write for the moment to please myself, and not him.”
“We slid down the two thousand feet to the source of the Arveron in some seven or eight minutes, Richard vouchsafing his entire approval of that manner of progression by the single significant epithet, ' Pernicious.'
George indefatigably carried his little daguerrotype box up everywhere and took the first image of the Matterhorn ever drawn by the sun. A thing to be proud of still, though he is a justice of peace, somewhere in Australia.”
“Men of perfect genius are known in all centuries by their perfect respect to all law and love of past tradition; their work in the world is never innovation, but new creation; without disturbing for an instant the foundations which were laid of old time.” < Real dancing
rarest nowadays of all the gifts of cultivated womankind. It used to be said of a Swiss girl, she'prays well and dances well ’; but now no human creature can pray at the pace of our common prayers or dance at the pace of modern waltz or polka music.
From which type the way is short to patten, clog, golosh, and high-heeled bottines, which have distressed alike and disgraced all feminine motion for the last quarter of a century. Our proud maidenhood, decorate with dead robins, transfixed humming-birds, and hot-house flowers for its' Wedding March by Mendelssohn. To think there is not enough love or praise in all Europe and America to invent one other tune for the poor things to strut to!"
“Had you ever read ten words of mine with understanding, you would have known that I care no more for Mr. Disraeli or Mr. Gladstone than for two old bag-pipes going by steam, but that I hate all Liberalism as I do Beëlzebub, and that, with Carlyle, I stand, we two alone now in England, for God and the Queen."
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES 1. Discuss Ruskin's education and upbringing. 2. How did Ruskin first become acquainted with Turner's art? 3. What immediate effect upon the English point of view had the publi
cation of the first volume of “ Modern Painters "? 4. From what you know of Ruskin's views upon art, how do you trace his
development from an art critic to a moralist? 5. Discuss some of Ruskin's economic views. 6. How did he try to put his ideas into practice? 7. Discuss the present day acceptances and practices of some of Ruskin's
ideas. 8. Compare Ruskin's early environments with Carlyle's. 9. Outline Ruskin's life. 10. Which of his books are most likely to live?
Suggested Readings." Sesame and Lilies” and “The Crown of Wild Olive” are short and valuable. J. M. Mather's “ John Ruskin: His Life and Teachings ” is suggestive.
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ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON (1850–1894)
“This wounded soldier did not merely refrain from groans; he gave forth instead a war song so juvenile and inspiriting that thousands of men without a scratch went back into the battle.”—G. K. Chesterton.
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON reminds one in varied ways of Pope, Carlyle, Scott, and Lamb. Like Pope and Carlyle, his life was one long disease. Unlike them and like Scott, he made it heroic by rising above his sufferings; somebody indeed has said that, instead of stoically enduring the ill-health to which he was condemned, he made of his career one long and joyous song of victory, wherein mind triumphed over matter. Like Scott, too, he wrote fascinating romances, and like Lamb he had an exquisitely artful style.
He was born November 13, 1850, at Edinburgh. His father was a noted builder of lighthouses. From his mother he inherited a weakness of chest and a susceptibility to cold that affected his whole life and would have ended it in infancy had it not been for the devoted care of his nurse, Alison Cunningham. Cummie, as he called her, also watched over his spiritual welfare, instilling into his youthful mind a proper fear of hell and a proper hatred of cards, novels, and playhouses, though her protégé was wont in later years to declare that her grand dramatic way of reciting the hymns gave him his passion for the drama. In 1856 he began his literary career by dictating to his mother on five successive Sunday evenings a history of Moses, for which he received as reward a Bible picture book and a life-long desire to be an author. The first book that he read was The Arabian Nights.” His schooling did not begin until 1859 and then, on account of his susceptibility to cold, was irregular. Among his masters was D'Arcy Thompson, author of " The Day Dreams of a Schoolmaster." Another of his teachers said he was without exception the most delightful of boys, in spite of the fact that he remained profoundly ignorant of spelling and grammar. He rode a pony some in these years and