John Ruskin by John Batchelor
A Life

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Synopsis

On the centenary of Ruskin's death, a biography that explores the genius of the romantic visionary and the anguish of the private man. A man of prodigious genius, the eminently Victorian John Ruskin ranged over the entire landscape of human knowledge, from botany and geology to art criticism and social theory. He championed the painter J. M. W. Turner, the poetry of Wordsworth, and Gothic architecture. He inspired Proust and Gandhi. Works like his incomparable Stones of Venice fathered a new generation of aesthetes, while his indictment of English industrialism in The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century fathered the ethical socialists who would strive to establish a new political order for the working man. Not only does this probing new biography celebrate the literary career that made Ruskin one of the most influential cultural figures of his day, it also illuminates the darker side of an emotionally unstable man whose obsessive desires thwarted his marriage to Effie Gray and later - after the death of Rose La Touche, the young girl he loved consumingly - drove him to extended bouts with madness. No passion, though, could dim the blazing creative energy of the intelligence that reimagined England's social destiny, as this estimable, crisply detailed volume shows. "Attractively written and well-argued.... A shrewd summary of Ruskin's career and a balanced assessment of his major works." - Sunday Telegraph "The perfect condensed account of Ruskin's life." - Daily Telegraph; "An excellent short study, keenly alert to the social and political environments in which Ruskin found himself." - Guardian.
 

About John Batchelor

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John Batchelor is Emeritus Professor at the University of Newcastle. He was also previously a Fellow of New College, Oxford. His books include biographies of Joseph Conrad, H. G. Wells, Virginia Woolf, and John Ruskin. He lives in Newcastle.
 
Published October 1, 2000 by Carroll & Graf Publishers. 384 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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This year being the centenary of Ruskin’s death, many publishers are churning out books on his life and the intellectual impact of his writings.

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Publishers Weekly

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Early in Batchelor's splendid one-volume life, he notes that young Ruskin (1819-1900) suffered as an overloved child [who] has been emotionally mutilated by its parentsDand that this suffering was

Oct 02 2000 | Read Full Review of John Ruskin: A Life

Publishers Weekly

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Early in Batchelor's splendid one-volume life, he notes that young Ruskin (1819-1900) suffered as ""an overloved child [who] has been emotionally mutilated by its parents""Dand that this suffering was to affect him for the rest of his life.

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