Edited Excerpt[*] from
Chapter IV

“Art and Life in Nineteenth-Century England:

The Theory and Practice of William Morris” 

John T.F. Lang


Ruskin’s … position was more than ever secured by the appearance of The Stones of Venice in 1853. The famous chapter “Of the Nature of Gothic,” long afterwards lovingly reprinted by Morris as one of the earliest productions of the Kelmscott Press, was a new gospel and a fixed creed... [1]

Modern Painters: A Defence of the Beauty of Nature

In Ruskin’s strident defence of J.W. Turner (see Modern Painters), the complacent English reading public received a vigorously sustained attack upon the pretentious academic tradition in art. This tradition was represented by the Royal Academy of Art and was characterized by its disdain for, and failure to recognize, Turner’s greatness. Ruskin addressed the public much in the style of Carlyle but with a gentler touch, “engrafting the love of beautiful form upon Carlyle’s sterner philosophy.[2] Both men were concerned that the general reading population be apprised of the developments in their respective areas of interest; they were not, and did not want to be shut up in a cloistered lecture hall speaking to the progeny of the aristocratic class.

            What we see in Ruskin’s work and in his analysis of Turner’s consummate skill is a kind of naturalized reverence for Nature.

Ruskin was greatly interested in … [Turner’s paintings] … because they were not landscapes of the ordinary type, scenes from nature squeezed into the mould of recognized artistic composition; nor on the other hand mere photographic transcripts, but dreams, as it were, of the mountains and sunsets, in which Turner’s wealth of detail was suggested, and his intuitive knowledge of form expressed, together with the unity which comes of the faithful record of a single impression.[3]

For Ruskin, at least, this reverence was strongly tinged with an idealization of the Beauty of Nature and it contrasted with the prevailing artifice characteristic of the academy painters, such as Gainsborough and Reynolds. Ruskin’s guiding principle at this crucial point in his life (1840-42), and for the remainder of his lifetime, was ‘Sincerity to Nature and with Yourself’; “… knowing what you truly admire, and painting that: refusing the hypocrisy of any ‘grand style’ or ‘high art’ just as much as you refuse to pander to vulgar tastes. And then the vital art is produced; and if the workman be a man of great powers, great art.”[4] Although he had spent many years studying geology and botany, Ruskin was not to become a man of science in the conventional sense. Rather “the mission was laid upon him to tell the world that Art, no less than the other spheres of life, had its Heroes; that the mainspring of their energy was Sincerity, and the burden of their utterance, Truth.”[5]

            Ruskin as well as Carlyle felt that there was the need for a rebirth in culture and that if this change did not occur society was doomed to follow its set course. Led by the love and worship of Mammon, civilization was destined for ever increasing corruption, disease, and eventual death. Writing words of encouragement to Ruskin in 1851, on The Stones of Venice, Carlyle declares the following: “It is quite a new ‘renaissance,’ I believe, we are getting into just now: either towards new, wider manhood, high again as the eternal stars: or else into final death, and the mask of Gehenna for evermore![6] Carlyle had ventured into the depths of German philosophy and he had returned satisfied with the attitude of metaphysical striving, but was not committed to the content or substance of thinkers such as Schelling or Hegel. Ruskin made no such pilgrimage to the contemporary promised land of Idealistic thought; instead he went directly to its source and fountainhead―Plato.[7] Ruskin’s main principle of “Sincerity to Nature and to Self” was articulated in his early works in Modern Painters. That work, which figured both as a general defense of Turner and Ruskin’s holistic approach to art, nature and society, can be seen as closely paralleling Plato’s concern with the soul of the individual and the State. It seems correct to maintain as Collingwood does that:

What he [Ruskin] had done for Turner, he did for Carlyle: he analyzed the principles of those two great men, and laid the foundations of a new system, in the first case of an art-theory, in the second case of a social theory, which they had illustrated in concrete examples. … Ruskin’s system, if it can be called a system, reaches farther, attempts more; is closely bound up with a general scheme of life and politics, Platonic in its breadth of view.[8]

With his knowledge of Plato, Ruskin is fundamentally concerned with the role of art within Society. Indeed, the self-consciousness of the artist and his responsibility to his audience is central to art’s social role, and basic to this relation is the idea of justice. In his famous chapter “On the Nature of Gothic” Ruskin presented

... the great doctrine that art cannot be produced except by artists; that architecture, in so far as it is an art, does not mean the mechanical execution, by unintelligent workmen, of vapid working-drawings from an architect’s office; … just as Socrates postponed the day of justice until the philosophers should be kings and kings philosophers, so Ruskin postponed the reign of art until workmen should be artists, and artists workmen.[9]


 The Nature of Gothic and the Road to Rebellion.

The degree to which William Morris adopted John Ruskin’s aesthetic creed as presented in Modern Painters and The Stones of Venice is made plain by his own words on the subject when he came to republish the seminal chapter “The Nature of Gothic” at the Kelmscott Press in 1892. “To my mind, and I believe to some others,” writes Morris, “it is one of the most important things written by the author, and in future days will be considered as one of the very few necessary and inevitable utterances of the century.”[10] To a disinterested onlooker it may not seem “inevitable,” but when it is read and properly understood in the social and aesthetic context of Ruskin’s tremendous influence, the burgeoning Gothic revival, and the rebellion of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, the chapter on Gothic appears to have been the natural expression of a generation or even that of an era. Indeed, for Morris, it may well be said that without this chapter for stimulation, guidance and clarification of aesthetic principles, his whole life would have been substantially different. Morris confesses that “[To] some of us when we first read it, now many years ago, it seemed to point out a new road on which the world should travel.”[11] Ostensibly that road required a dynamic unity between the material substances and ideas which artists used in conjunction with the actual physical labour and production of a work or art object.

            In his famous chapter “The Nature of Gothic” Ruskin emphasizes the presence of life and of power in all good Gothic art. “It is not enough that it has the Form, if it have not also the power and life.”[12]  Here Ruskin articulates a distinction between the ‘Mental Power of Expression’ and that of the ‘Material Form’ inherent in Gothic architecture, but then shows that these two components are meant to be synthesized into a higher totality which is characteristic of all that is good and true in Gothic art. To underscore the idea of unity, he relies on an analogous example of the constituent parts of a chemical substance.[13] He then announces the six major elements (or signposts, as it were) along this Gothic road to aesthetic unity: 1) Savageness, or Rudeness; 2) Changefulness, or Love of Change; 3) Naturalism, or Love of Nature; 4) Grotesqueness, or Disturbed Imagination; 5) Rigidity, or Obstinacy; and 6) Redundance, or Generosity.[14]  

            In the initial element of Gothic architecture (savageness), Ruskin says that there exists a necessary “wildness of thought, and roughness of work,” (“this look of mountain brotherhood between the cathedral and the Alp”).[15] Here, as Edward Alexander has it, “Ruskin is deliberately trying to outrage classical and modern canons of taste by praising in the “so-called Dark Ages” precisely those rude, uncouth, barbarous characteristics that had earned the contempt of neoclassical writers … [He is arguing] that ‘savageness’ of Gothic architecture is doubly noble,”[16] its higher nobility being “an index of religious principle, not of climate.”[17] But while maintaining the geographic distinction characteristic of Gothic in its allegiance to the North over that of the South, this mere transalpine difference is somehow altered by the ‘religious principle’. This alteration points to the Hegelian movement of dialectical reconciliation of contrary positions: the resolution of such tensions into a higher organic unity. In this case, the opposition is not the unity achieved by the reconciliation between the ‘Mental’ and the Material powers or forms, although this also takes place in the idea of the Gothic. Ruskin’s ‘religious principle’ is rather close to the Hegelian analysis of the Lordship and Bondage relationship found in the Phenomenology of Spirit. (Chpt. V, A, para. 178-196) where the two persons form an organic whole, even while each is unaware of their dependency.

            Admittedly, while there exist certain superficial similarities between them, I am not suggesting that Ruskin (or Morris) is following Hegel’s classification of the logical-historical phases of art’s development. Like Hegel, Ruskin and Morris see a certain peak that was attained in the Greek world; however, they posit the classical stage as one of ‘slavery,’ because the artist of that phase did not have the ‘freedom’ of the Gothic artist. There is some similarity here with Hegel’s distinction between the Classical stage (Greece) and the Romantic stage: Hegel sees the paradigmatic example of natural wholeness in the Greek works of art which Ruskin and Morris acknowledge but cannot totally endorse; they feel it is degraded somewhat by the ‘slavery’ of the craftsman’s actual condition. So the ‘freedom’ that is exalted by Ruskin and Morris in the Gothic period is more similar to what is experienced by Hegel’s Romantic artist.

            Though Hegel sees a natural philosophical condition of ‘true spirit’ in the Greek city-state, he also recognizes that its art and philosophy lack a certain degree of individuality and subjectivity, that is, ‘freedom’. It is the growth of this idea and sense of freedom that Hegel sees as beginning in Stoicism (although prefigured in Socrates) which is very similar to Ruskin and Morris’s postulation of the artistic character of freedom in the master-slave dialectic represented by Gothic art. The difference then between the two attitudes (that of Hegel and the other two) is that Hegel places the aesthetic ideal in the Greek experience while Ruskin and Morris view it as essentially figured in the Gothic period.

            With these considerations in mind let us now observe the dialectical relation that Ruskin attributes to the craftsman of the Gothic era. Ruskin suggests that architecture may properly be divided into three sections.

1) Servile ornament, in which the execution or power of the inferior workman is entirely subjected to the intellect of the higher; 2) Constitutional ornament, in which the executive inferior power is, to a certain point, emancipated and independent, having a will of its own, yet confessing its inferiority and rendering obedience to higher powers; and 3) Revolutionary ornament, in which no executive inferiority is admitted at all.[18]

Ruskin believes that Egypt and the Ninevite characterize the first stage, Greece and contemporary England characterize the second, and that Christianity (the Gothic period: 300-1300 A.D.) characterizes the third stage. But what is the nature of that Christian or medieval element which most adequately symbolizes the freedom of the craftsman’s activity? The ‘religious’ or spiritual element is the organic relationship between the master and slave in the feudal condition of art and society.  ‘Revolutionary ornament’ may best be characterized then (at least partially) in Hegelian terms as the transitional movement from the initially imposed state of unequal recognition in the Lordship and Bondage relationship to that of the self-conscious condition of Stoicism—the first phase of ‘Freedom’ which develops into Unhappy consciousness.

            The Lordship and Bondage relationship or the Master-Slave dialectic  begins with the external imposition of desire (artistic direction in our case) in the form of the Master’s clearly perceived end-product (be it agricultural, domestic husbandry, the construction of a cathedral, a Manor House, or an icon) upon the craftsman (or Slave/Bondsman) who must labour to achieve this goal (which is not his own), and in so doing attains not only pleasure but also a certain degree of self-consciousness about his labouring (techne) and its inherent worth. Once the slave has played his part in the process towards obtaining the desired, but (for him) alienated end, it is understood, from the perspective of philosophic reflection, that both members of this process―the Master and the Slave―can be seen to have benefited; admittedly, this comprehension is not consciously or objectively viewed as such by either participant. Though starting in an unequal state of recognition, the Master and the Slave, through their mutual action (desire and execution) together represent one self-consciousness. Only by the philosophic observer (i.e., Hegel) or in our immediate case by the artistic theorists, Ruskin and Morris, is this unity of dialectical interdependence seen and understood for what it actually is: an organic and necessary wholeness.

            The position of synthesis, achieved by the negation of ‘mere’ slavery to another man’s desire, is part of the “serf’s phenomenology,” whereas the “freedom of thought” of the Stoics Marcus Aurelius (121-180 A.D.) and Epictetus is common to Lord and Bondsman alike, as Hegel’s transparent reference to the two models of Roman Stoicism is meant to show. For Ruskin and Morris, Marcus Aurelius and Epictetus are replaced by the anonymous artisan on the scaffolds against the half finished church. He has ‘freedom’ in his service of God, which the “thinkers” (Stoic and Sceptics) know nothing about.

            Ruskin articulates the Hegelian concept of the Unhappy Consciousness in the following passage:

In the medićval, or especially Christian, system of ornament, this slavery [i.e., the slavery imposed by the classic canon] is done away with altogether; Christianity having recognized, in small things as well as great, the individual value of every soul. But it not only recognizes its value; it confesses its imperfection, in only bestowing dignity upon the acknowledgement of unworthiness. That admission of lost power and fallen nature … to every spirit  which Christianity summons to her service, her exhortation is: Do what you can, and confess frankly what you are unable to do; neither let your effort be shortened for fear of failure, nor your confession silenced for fear of shame.[19]

This is a fairly close description of the Unhappy Consciousness in its “desire and labour.” The moment of aesthetic sublation is foregrounded when Ruskin concludes his paragraph thus:

… it is, perhaps the principal admirableness of the Gothic schools of architecture, that they thus receive the results of the labour of inferior minds; and out of fragments full of imperfection, and betraying that imperfection in every touch, indulgently raise up a stately and unaccusable whole. [20]

The paradox here is that such “fragments full of imperfection,” such inferior human minds (in relation to the conception of the perfect and absolutely superior Mind in Heaven) somehow manage to produce “a stately and unaccusable whole” which underscores the significance of the vision of art just described.

            Admittedly, Ruskin did not read either Hegel or the German idealists as a group, but he was acquainted with the ideas of Schiller. And although Ruskin rejected the terminology used by Schiller such as ‘Spieltrieb’ and ‘aesthetic,’ he shared an actual concern for art theory and philosophy. For example, Ruskin and Schiller agree that in the desire for perfection, accuracy and symmetry, in the drive for imitation of such abstractions as circles, spheres, and triangles which do not exist naturally in Nature, man is reduced to a machine.[21]

You must either make a tool of the creature, or a man of him. You cannot make both. Men were not intended to work with the accuracy of tools, to be precise and perfect in all their actions. If you will have that precision out of them, and make their fingers measure degrees like cog-wheels, and their arms strike curves like compasses, you must unhumanize them.[22]

The similarity between the two theorists is highlighted by Schiller’s ‘fragmented’ image of man: “How different with us Moderns! With us too the image of the human species is projected in magnified form into separate individuals―but as fragments, not in different combinations.”[23] Both thinkers focus on the motif of the machine, upon industrial production, and upon extreme accuracy such that, as Ruskin states, a man “may not err from its steely precision, and so soul and sight be worn away, and the whole human being be lost at last―a heap of sawdust, so far as its intellectual work of the world is concerned.”[24] Here we have the image of humanity as dust, as mere chips of wood on the factory floor, waiting for the waste bin or the fire.  In response, Ruskin offers a redemptive aesthetic, one concretized by Morris in the character of Boffin, the Golden Dustman of News from Nowhere. Boffin will salvage such dust, and restore man to his real place within nature, where he can be endowed with honour, and removed from mechanical servitude. In this, the Golden Dustman (or indeed Ruskin’s vision) will help gather the fragmented hopes of humanity―reduced to mere quantitative and utilitarian calculations―and offer a solution that resides both in the heart and in the phenomenon of error itself:

… saved only by its Heart, which cannot go in to the form of cogs and compasses, but expands, after the ten hours are over, into fireside humanity. On the other hand, if you will make a man of the working creature, you cannot make a tool. Let him but begin to imagine, to think, to try to do anything worth doing; and the engine-turned precision is lost at once. Out come all his roughness, all his dullness, all his incapability; shame upon shame, failure upon failure, pause after pause: but out comes the whole majesty of him also: and we know the height of it only, when we see the clouds settling upon him. And, whether the clouds be bright or dark, there will be transfiguration behind and within them.[25]

            Through the passion of the heart the human being errs. Calculation and abstract reasoning fall away in the face of need and the desire for recognition―recognition of oneself and in another human being. Ruskin looks at the shattered psyche of the English community driven by its lust for material prosperity and he offers an analysis which seems to contain Hegel’s idea of recognition and the aesthetic resolution of the Master-Slave dialectic, which began with unequal recognition. Ruskin uses his own terms but the overall (Hegelian) consciousness is in evidence.

Never had the upper classes so much sympathy with the lower, or charity for them, as they have at this day, and yet never were they so much hated by them: for, of old, the separation between the noble and the poor was merely a wall built by law; now it is a veritable difference in level of standing, a precipice between upper and lower grounds in the field of humanity, and there is a pestilential air at the bottom of it. I know not if a day is ever to come when the nature of right freedom will be understood, and when men will see that to obey another man, to labour for him, yield reverence to him or to his place, is not slavery. It is often the best kind of liberty―liberty from care. The man who says to one, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, has in most cases, more sense of restraint and difficulty than the man who obeys him. The movements of one are hindered by the burden on his shoulders; of the other, by the bridle on his lips; there is no ways by which the burden may be lightened; but we need not suffer from the bridle if we do not champ at it.[26]

            The interdependence of recognition has been hinted at as the way out of this condition of human existence. Thus the medieval ideal of the craftsman is implicitly posited as the historically instantiated model of the possible solution. The last sentence in the quotation implicates us too (“if we do not champ at it”): it indicates that Ruskin assumes that his reader is, like himself, a ‘master,’―not an uncommon assumption for 1851; simultaneously, it indicates that the ‘master’ in the image of a horse with a bridle in its mouth must also serve, in turn, its own Master.

            When he wrote The Stones of Venice (Volumes 2 and 3) Ruskin was having some difficulties with respect to his belief in God and the truth of the Bible. But it would appear that for all intents and purposes, he wrote Stones with the conviction “…that at any rate I would act as if the Bible were true; that if it were not, at all events, I should be no worse off than I was before.”[27] But by the time he comes to write Unto This Last in 1860, he had undergone his famous unconversion. Thus by 1860, the ‘master’ is Death itself and he has made the jump to Hegel’s Moral World-View, with his adherence to a moral tone very similar to Kant’s Categorical Imperative. Either way, the analysis of the master-slave relationship would seem apposite here: in the Gothic formulation, the absolute master is God (as it should be for the Christian or sublated Stoic mind) and in Unto This Last that master is the absolute mastery wielded by Death, the power that the serf fears.

            The slave is happy to have life. He is content to labour on the object for the strict desires of his Lord and Master. In the feudal condition of the Medieval period, which Gothic embraces, there is an organic dependency on the basic necessities of life (e.g., defence, shelter and food). But in the modern world, no oath of fealty exists. As Carlyle had noted, the “cash nexus” reigns supreme and the contemporary slave, while giving personal sacrifice like his gothic brother in the earlier time, fails to get recognition from his new master (capital or Mammon). He remains unthanked, impoverished and defeated.

… their souls withering within them, unthanked, to find their whole being sunk into an unrecognized abyss, to be counted off into a heap of mechanism, numbered with its wheels, and weighed with its hammer strokes;―this nature bade not, ―this God blesses not, ― this humanity for no long time is able to endure.[28]

To elevate the labourer from the drudgery and monotony of his condition, Ruskin proposes the following: 1) “Never encourage the manufacture of any article not absolutely necessary, in the production of which Invention has no share.” 2) “Never demand an exact finish for its own sake, but only for some practical or noble end.” 3) Never encourage imitation or copying of any kind, except for the sake of preserving record of great works.”  Implicit here is a condemnation of a state of luxury, the type that Plato indicted in Book I of The Republic.

            The final stage of Ruskin’s plea for improvement is exemplified in News from Nowhere; it would be a condition where man is no longer split into the separate realms of intellectual and manual labour. This is the central point of the “Nature of Gothic.”

We are always in these days endeavouring to separate the two; we want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, and we call one a gentleman, and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought to be thinking, and the thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense. As it is, we make both ungentle, the one envying, the other despising, his brother; and the mass of society is made up of morbid thinkers, and miserable workers. Now it is only by labour that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labour can be made happy, and the two cannot be separated with impunity. It would be well if all of us were good handicraftsmen in some kind, and the dishonour of manual labour done away with altogether… [29]


            I conclude the present investigation of the character of Gothic with a quick summation of some points made by Morris, which will help demonstrate his very close affinity with Ruskin, on the one hand, and his transcendence of Ruskin’s paternalism or innate aristocratic manner, on the other. I will focus only on “The Nature of Gothic” and its master-slave dialectic, the idea of ‘rebellion,’ and the term ‘craftsman.’

            In the essay “Making the Best of It,” a paper written in 1879 and read before the Trades Guild of Learning and the Birmingham Society of Artists, Morris is clearly dealing with the idea of the master-slave relationship, but in a unique manner. He collapses the problem of the mechanization of humanity and the problems of the labourer in his job.

The division of labour, which has played so great a part in furthering competitive commerce, till it has become a machine with powers both reproductive and destructive, which few dare to resist, and none can control or foresee the result of, has pressed especially hard on that part of the field of human culture in which I was born to labour. That field of the arts, whose harvest should be the chief part of human joy, hope, and consolation, has been, I say, dealt with by the division of labour, once the servant, and now the master of the competitive commerce, itself once the servant, and now the master of civilization; nay, so searching has been this tyranny, that it has not passed by my own insignificant corner of labour, but as it has thwarted me in many ways, so chiefly perhaps in this, that it has so stood in the way of my getting the help from others which my art forces me to crave, that I have been compelled to learn many crafts, and belike, according to the proverb, forbidden to master any, so that I fear my lecture will seem to you both to run over too many things and not to go deep enough into any.

I cannot help it. That above-mentioned tyranny has turned some of us from being, as we should be, contented craftsmen, into being discontented agitators against it, … indeed I must confess that I should hold my peace on all matters connected with the arts, if I had not a lurking hope to stir up both others and myself to discontent with and rebellion against things as they are, clinging to the further hope that our discontent may be fruitful and our rebellion steadfast, at least to the end of our own lives, since we believe that we are rebels not against the laws of Nature, but the customs of folly.[30]

We should take special note of the harvest and fruit motif. For we see the fruit of a struggle—agitation and rebellion against the tyranny of commerce, mechanization, and division of labour—in the aesthetic-social condition of Morris’s utopian romance. In News from Nowhere, the fundamental master-slave relationship is absorbed into the idea of the genuine craftsman himself.

            Morris closes the lecture with the idea of rebellion but also reiterates the ‘craving’ for art. Art is the object which the lover seeks and this perpetual striving provides sustenance for the ongoing struggle.

From our own selves we can tell that there is hope of victory in our rebellion, since we have art enough in our lives, not to content us, but to make us long for more, and that longing drives us into trying to spread art and the longing for art: and as it is with us so it will be with those that we win over: little by little, we may well hope, will do its work, till at last a great many men will have enough of art to see how little they have, and how much they might better their lives, if everyman had his due share of art—that is, just so much as he could use if a fair chance were given him.

Is that, indeed, too extravagant a hope? Have you not heard how it has gone with many a cause before now? First, few men heed it; next, most men condemn it; lastly, all men accept it― and the cause is won.[31]

One cannot help but notice a kind of religious sentiment entering into the lecture, a kind of aesthetic moral crusade is being waged, with art as its God or the patron Saint of the new Trinity of Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

            The priests of this new condition of society will be the craftsmen who require a change in perspective with regard to their profession and abilities. (See the appeal made by Ruskin above.)[32] Morris has accepted the master-slave idea and has transfigured it twenty-seven years on;[33] he will now vindicate the concept of the craftsman, and will make his own plea for a reappraisal of the word “handicraft” to dispel its pejorative resonances: “craftiness,” “guilefulness”  or “trickiness”.

Well, the right meaning of the word craft is simply power: so that a handicraftsman signifies a man who exercises a power by means of his hands, and doubtless when it was first used it was intended to signify that he exercised a certain kind of power, to wit, a readiness of mind and deftness of hand which had been acquired through many ages, handed down from father to son and increased generation by generation: surely a class of men who possess such a power is a class to be honoured and thanked rather than nicknamed by foolish outlandish words.[34]

            There remains but one last step for the transfiguration of the labourer from Ruskin’s initial characterization to Morris’s higher synthesis. Assuming the duties and responsibilities both of the Intellect and of the Operative, of mental and manual faculties, Morris enacts the unity of poesis and techne that only a transformed world will fully allow. In 1885, he writes:

You see I have got to understand thoroughly the manner of work under which the art of the Middle Ages was done, and that that is the only manner of work which can turn out popular art, only to discover that it is impossible to work in that manner in this profit-grinding society. So on all sides I am driven towards revolution as the only hope, and am growing clearer and clearer on the speedy advent of it in a very obvious form, though of course I can’t give a date for it.[35]

[*] While this edited excerpt from John Lang’s doctoral dissertation (York University, 1990) begins in media res, and focuses mainly on Ruskin’s ideas, it should offer the reader an important foundation for grasping Morris’s socio-aesthetic theories.

[1] J.W. Mackail. The Life of William Morris. Vol. 1., 1899, rpt. New York: Benjamin Blom, 1968, 38.

[2] Leslie Stephen, Studies of a Biographer, 4 vols. London: Duckworth & Co., 1898. Rpt.  1910, 103.

[3] W.G. Collingwood. The Life and Work of John Ruskin. London: Methuen & Co., 1893, Vol.1, 100-101.

[4] Ibid., 1, 102.

[5] Ibid., 1, 103.

[6] Ibid., 1, 151.

[7] As a graduate of Oxford, Ruskin would necessarily have studied Plato’s Republic as did all undergraduate students, including William Morris. But Ruskin became equally taken with The Laws and deemed Jowett’s translation of them to be ‘good for nothing’. He writes to C.E. Norton in 1879: “I’m doing the Laws of Plato thoroughly. Jowett’s translation is a disgrace to Oxford, and how much to Plato … cannot be said, and I must get mine done all the more.” See John Ruskin, Charles Eliot Norton. Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1904, Vol. 2, 159.

[8] Collingwood. Op. cit., 2., 21, 53.

[9] Collingwood. Op. cit., 2, 165.

[10] The Works of John Ruskin. Ed. E.T. Cook and J. Wedderburn. London: Haskell House Publishing, Ltd., 1909. Vol. X, 460.

[11] Ibid., 460.

[12] W. E. Buckler (ed.). Prose of the Victorian Period. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1958; “The Nature of Gothic,” 361-392.

[13] Ibid., 363.

[14] Ibid., 364.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Edward Alexander. Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin, and the Modern Temper. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1973, 98.

[17]  Ruskin in W. E. Buckler. Op.cit., 366.

[18]  Ibid., 366-67.

[19]  Ibid., 367

[20]  Ibid., 367-68

[21] Ruskin acquired most of his knowledge and understanding of Kant and the Idealist thinkers, particularly Schiller, from none other than Thomas Carlyle.  See E.T. Cook and J.Wedderburn, op. cit., civiii.

[22] Ruskin in W. E. Buckler. Op.cit., 369.

[23] Friedrich Schiller. On the Aesthetic Education of Man.  Ed. and trans. E.M. Wilkinson and L.A. Willoughby. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1967, #6, para.3.

[24] Ruskin in W. E. Buckler. Op.cit., 369.

[25]  Ibid.

[26]  Ibid., 370-71.

[27] E.T. Cook. The Life of John Ruskin. 1911; New York: rpt. 1968, Vol.1, 271.

[28] Ruskin in W. E. Buckler. Op.cit., 371.

[29]  Ibid., 374-75.

[30] Morris, “Making the Best of It.” The Collected Works of William Morris. Ed. May Morris. 24 Vols. London: Longmans, Green, 1910-1915 rpt. New York: Russell and Russell, Vol. XXII, 82.

[31] Ibid., 118.

[32] Buckler. Op. cit., 374-75.

[33]  Morris is writing this bold new conception of the craftsman twenty-seven years (1879) after reading “The Nature of Gothic” (1852).

[34] William Morris. “Art is a Serious Thing.” In The Unpublished Lectures of William Morris. Ed. Eugene Lemire. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1969, 45.

[35] Morris to unknown recipient, March 1885. In Norman Kelvin (ed.). The Collected Letters of  William Morris, 3 vols.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987, 395.

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