John Ruskin Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Defend or attack John Ruskin’s assertion that “you must have the right moral state first, or you cannot have the art.”

According to Ruskin, what is the relationship between poetry and visual art?

Discuss the influence of The Stones of Venice on William Morris.

Compare the philosophies of art of Ruskin and Walter Pater.

Has Ruskin had any serious influence on artists or architects in the last several decades?

Ruskin is considered one of the great Victorian prose writers. Determine some of the characteristics of his style.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Batchelor, John. John Ruskin: A Life. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2000. This biography explores the studies of the eminently Victorian Ruskin, which ranged from botany and geology to art criticism and social theory, and the anguish of his private life.

Birch, Dinah, and Francis O’Gorman. Ruskin and Gender. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Contains essays challenging assumptions of Ruskin’s conservatism when it comes to gender roles.

Cianci, Giovanni, and Peter Nicholls, eds. Ruskin and Modernism. New York: Palgrave, 2001. Study on the relationship between Ruskin’s influence and Anglo-American modernism. Examines Ruskin’s connection to pre-modernist writers and the importance of Ruskin’s thought to modernists such as Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and C. S. Lewis and to intellectual history and architectural theory.

Emerson, Sheila. Ruskin, the Genesis of Invention. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993. On Ruskin’s aesthetics and art criticism.

Hilton, Timothy. John Ruskin: The Early Years. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985. Draws from Ruskin’s diaries and many unpublished letters as well as the subject’s published works. Covers Ruskin’s life from 1819 to 1859.

Hilton, Timothy. John Ruskin: The Later Years. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000. Begins in 1859, when Ruskin is already famous. Describes his obsession with ten-year-old Rose La Touche as well as his mental illness in his later years.

Hunt, John Dixon. The Wider Sea: A Life of John Ruskin. New York: Viking, 1982.

Wheeler, Michael. Ruskin’s God. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999. First full-length study of the impact that Ruskin’s religion had upon his varied writings.