Thanks to Professor Spates for sharing the following from “The Stray Angel (Recollections on Ruskin’s Birthday)" from the entry for February 8th on his blog, Why Ruskin?. — George P. Landow

Leslie Stephen, a celebrated literary critic and biographer, form, to be specific, his Studies of a Biographer (1898). He is writing of the unique power of Ruskin's writing: When we read him, he says, we “are everywhere in contact with a real human being, feeling intensely, thinking keenly, and, even when rhetorical, writing not to exhibit his style or his eloquence, but because his heart burns within him.”

The next comes from G. K. Chesterton, writing in 1913 in his The Victorian Age in Literature:

As an artist in prose, he is one of the most miraculous products of the extremely poetical genius of England. The length of a Ruskin sentence is like that length in the long arrow that has been boasted of by the drawers of the bow. He draws not a cloth-yard shaft, but a long lance to his ear. He shoots a spear. But the whole goes light as a bird and straight as a bullet.

Next are a few praise-laden sentences from Marcel Proust, author of what is frequently ranked as the greatest of all French novels, Remembrance of Things Past. Proust loved Ruskin and wrote much in celebration of him; these words come from the "Preface" to La Bible d'Amiens, his translation of Ruskin's The Bible of Amiens (1904):

Ruskin's special gift was the feeling for beauty, in nature as in art. It was in Beauty that his nature led him to seek reality... But this Beauty to which he thus happened to dedicate his life was not conceived by him as an object of enjoyment made to charm, but as a reality infinitely more important than life, for which he would have given his own life.

Related material


Last modified 27 February 2017