Carlyle and Ruskin

An Influential Friendship

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One of the most powerful, sustained, and influential relationships between major literary figures of nineteenth-century England was that which existed between Thomas Carlyle and John Ruskin. And while the relationship has not escaped the notice of scholars, its impact upon John Ruskin, the younger of the two, has yet to be described and assessed. To the casual reader of Ruskin and Carlyle there might seem to be differences great enough to exclude any possibility of a friendship between the two men. And it might appear incongruous that the delicate Ruskin—lover of art, measurer of gothic gargoyles, sponsor of May-queen festivals, collector of colorful rocks—should become the avowed disciple of the stern Carlyle—transcendental mystic, scoffer at art, popularizer of German metaphysics.

 

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