Letters to John Ruskin

To follow up from our roundtable event in February, I have collated the letters that we read out in a single document. Please click on this link to view the PDF: Letters to Ruskin.

For a summary of the event, please also see this piece that Unit Member Hannah Cox has written in our student newspaper The Ruskin Journal.


CFP: Goodness, truth, and beauty in the work of John Ruskin and his contemporaries

Friday September 6th 2019

 Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

So then, whatever may be the means, or whatever the more immediate end of any kind of art, all of it that is good agrees in this, that it is the expression of one soul talking to another, and is precious according to the greatness of the soul that utters it. And consider what mighty consequences follows from our acceptance of this truth! (John Ruskin, Stones of Venice)

In her review of Ruskin’s Modern Painters 3, George Eliot writes: ‘The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism- the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in a place of definite, substantial reality.’ Through the nineteenth-century, Ruskin, Eliot and a number of Victorian reformers sought to clarify the divine and human sources of, and the connections between, goodness, truth, and beauty. This conference will offer the opportunity to explore how belief in the inextricability of these concepts informed understandings of the self, the other, and the world and to investigate the shifts in perception witnessed later in the century.

The conference will include plenary lectures from Andrew Tate (Lancaster) and Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University)

We welcome paper and panel proposals from scholars at any stage of their careers that explore ideas of goodness, truth, and/ or beauty in the work of John Ruskin and his contemporaries. Individual proposals for 20 minute papers should be no more than 300 words and accompanied by a short biographical statement. Proposals for 90 minute panels, each including 3 speakers, should be no longer than 1,000 words and include biographical statements for all the contributors. Please send your proposal to elizabeth.ludlow@anglia.ac.uk by 5pm on Friday May 17th.

Many Beautiful Things: Lilias Trotter and John Ruskin in conversation about art and life: Monday 8th April 4-6pm, Coslett 117

This event will include a short talk from Lizzie Ludlow and some discussion about the female artist Lillias Trotter, who decided to sacrifice the opportunity of becoming a protégé of John Ruskin to follow a call to missionary work in Algeria.  We will think about Trotter’s life and work and the recent work – including the 2015 documentary film – that has been done to recuperate her legacy.