The Contemporary Reviews of John Ruskin's 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'

The Contemporary Reviews of John Ruskin's 'The Seven Lamps of Architecture'

By: Robert Brownell (author)Hardback

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When The Seven Lamps of Architecture was published in 1849, in a society where new books on Gothic architecture sold like novels, it created an immediate sensation. The book was to found John Ruskin's reputation as Britain's foremost architectural critic. But there was some perplexity about what he had meant by what he had written - as well as rumours of hidden meanings. Some critics likened his writing style to the effects of incense or even narcotics, warning the weak-minded to beware lest they were swept away by his passages of `purple prose'. There was also fierce establishment suspicion of Ruskin's `revolutionary' principles. 1848 had been a tumultuous year right across Europe. Venice was besieged by the Austrian army. The archbishop of Paris was shot by French rioters. In England the October 1847 `week of terror' had seen railway shares collapse and corn speculators bankrupted in the worst financial crisis of the nineteenth century. By the following year thousands of middle-class investors had lost everything. The Chartists marched on London on Ruskin's wedding day, and across the Irish Sea more than a million people were dying in the Great Famine. These events cast their shadows across Ruskin's writing, and its reception. These forty-five major English-language reviews, gathered for the first time into one volume by Robert Brownell, document the initial critical reaction to The Seven Lamps. They give a fascinating insight into contemporary thought, not only with regard to architecture, but also to religion, politics and social issues. This collection of reviews is an essential research tool for anyone interested in Ruskin, architecture and Victorian society and culture.

About Author

Robert Brownell is also the author of Marriage of Inconvenience, an account of Ruskin's notorious marriage to Euphemia Gray, and A Torch at Midnight, a ground-breaking study of Ruskin's major architectural books.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781843681410
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 500
  • ID: 9781843681410
  • ISBN10: 1843681412

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