John Ruskin by Tim Hilton
The Later Years

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Synopsis

John Ruskin, one of the greatest writers and thinkers of the nineteenth century, was also one of the most prolific. Not only did he publish some 250 works, but he also wrote lectures, diaries, and thousands of letters that have not been published. This book the second and final volume of Tim Hilton's acclaimed biography of Ruskin, which is published on the centenary of Ruskin's death draws on the original source material to give a moving account of the life of this brilliant and creative man. The book begins in 1859. Ruskin had a disastrous marriage behind him, was living with his parents, travelling, and earning his keep by writing and tutoring. This brought him into contact with Rose La Touche, a girl of ten, with whom he slowly fell in love. Hilton recounts how this relationship developed into one of the saddest love affairs of literary hsitory, ending in tragedy in 1875. Thereafter, says Hilton, Ruskin's life was punctuated by bouts of insanity and despair that culminated in total breakdown for the last ten years of his life. During these years, however, his intellect and imagination reached new heights, as he produced Praeterita and most of Fors Clavigera, the series of monthly letters to British workers. Hilton's magisterial narrative follows Ruskin through this period and shows that he was the most eloquent and radical of all the great Victorian writers.
 

About Tim Hilton

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Tim Hilton, an art critic and regular contributor to many newspapers, has written the catalogues for a number of significant exhibitions and has taught both painting and art history in several British art schools.
 
Published March 1, 2000 by Yale University Press. 544 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for John Ruskin

Publishers Weekly

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The second volume of art historian and critic Hilton's biography of Ruskin is heftier in size than its predecessor, and a lesser achievement.

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London Review of Books

‘When I was an undergraduate in the early 1960s,’ Mr Hilton writes, ‘I was asked to understand that an interest in Ruskin was as foolish as an enthusiasm for modern art.’ This is incomprehensible, until it is observed from the cover note that Mr Hilton was at Oxford.

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London Review of Books

It was in the winter of 1929 that the young American scholar Helen Gill Viljoen went to Brantwood, Ruskin’s old home on Coniston Water, to pursue her postgraduate researches.

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London Review of Books

In the first volume, published in 1985, Hilton made it clear that the later life was to be the real focus of his biography: ‘I believe that Ruskin was a finer writer and, if I dare say so, a better man, in the years after 1860 and especially in the years after 1870.’ Still bolder was the claim th...

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The New York Review of Books

He is working on a collection of essays, Elegy for an Age: Essays in Victorian Literature.

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The New York Review of Books

Filling the whole of a marginless right-hand page, an 1851 daguerreotype shows the young Effie Ruskin in the third year of her never-consummated marriage to Ruskin, who was then thirty-two.

Jun 29 2000 | Read Full Review of John Ruskin: The Later Years

The New York Review of Books

It takes Ruskin only up to his fortieth year—another forty, and those some of the most productive of his workaholic life, still lie ahead to be written about—but this biography achieves a new perspective on its subject’s character and achievement and on the well-known dramas of his domestic life.

Oct 24 1985 | Read Full Review of John Ruskin: The Later Years

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