<ul><li>A writer, critic, and artist, who more than anyone else influenced the public taste of Victorian England and did much to inspire the opposition to a laissez-faire philosophy… His parents recognized a dangerous precocity… they checked and restrained him… </li></ul>
<ul><li>A Wordsworthian in his love of nature, and of mountain scenery in particular, Ruskin founded an aesthetic canon upon truth to nature in landscape painting, contrasting in Modern Painters, the sensitive accuracy of Turner with the conventionalism of Claude Lorrain… </li></ul>
<ul><li>He was led from criticism and exposition of art to a concern with social welfare, advocating better housing, a system of national education for children and adults, old age-pensions (measures which were revolutionary at the time); and he used his wealth in the service of these ends. </li></ul>
<ul><li>John Ruskin was a man of true originality. No one who has read any of his important works seriously will ever be quite free from his influence; in what he wrote there was always an element of single-minded nobility. </li></ul><ul><li>--excerpts from Joan Evans’ article on Ruskin in the 1969 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. </li></ul>
Noon Briefly I set the frail brush aside. I saw the river scum snail up and slide along the quay where feuding nobles caressed their hates amid the velvet shadows. But I, not proud, not cruel, too much my mother's son saw death among the women who were laughing, calling from the shade. I fumbled for the brush again.
<ul><li>Midnight </li></ul><ul><li>I longed to lose my dainty quibbles and my English fears. To dream the flesh, the noise, the swagger of the renaissance. But hard-eyed singers servile as an iron tool looked through me at the piling and the sucking of the tide and watched the rippling of the moon in whirlpools. </li></ul>
<ul><li>4 A.M. </li></ul><ul><li>I needed northern Europe and that race that chiseled stone on brittle stone to glorify their disembodied God. Or did their stones say, as summer drifted south, that ripe grapes turn sour in the mouth? I was never sure. In London it would rain for thirty days. My prose became beaten gold. I was impotent, miserable, heroic. </li></ul>