Troubling Effects of Emotion: Parallels between John Ruskin and Charles Baudelaire

George P. Landow

[Note 9 in ""J. D. Harding and John Ruskin on Nature's Infinite Variety," which originally appeared in The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 38 (1970)]

Decorative Initial As I have stated in "Ruskin and Baudelaire on Art and Artist," University of Toronto Quarterly 37 (1968): 295, Ruskin "is so troubled by the potentially distorting effects of emotion that he draws a portrait of an ideal artist-poet, who, though deeply emotional, can yet paradoxically remain impassive when moved." In addition, he not only attempts to solve the problem of the artist's subjectivity by chiding the audience and creating an ideal creator, but he also posits a theory of beauty in which the beautiful is an objectively existing, unchanging duality: thus his theory of typical beauty which proposes that the beauty of form shadows forth divine qualities, allows Ruskin to center his art theory on the expression of emotion and imagination and yet insure that the beauty produced by the art he describes will itself be referable to an unchanging standard.

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