Ruskin and the art of the beholder

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Harvard University Press, 1982 - Art - 342 pages

"This book seems to give me eyes," wrote Charlotte Brontė of Ruskin's Modern Painters. Elizabeth Helsinger here explores theprofound changes Ruskin induced in theway nineteenth-century viewers looked atnature and at art.

Helsinger argues that Ruskin transformedthe artist- or poet-oriented aesthetics ofromanticism into a beholder- or reader-oriented criticism. Combining critical attention to Ruskin's prose with her ownwide-ranging scholarship, Helsinger placesRuskin's perceptual reforms within previously unexplored intellectual and culturalcontexts. She connects his thought withWordsworth's poetry, Turner's landscapeart, and Carlyle's history, and shows theeffect on his ideas of romantic literary andart criticism, associationist psychology, historicism, contemporary travel art andliterature, and Victorian philology.

This illuminating study of Ruskin's criticism should be welcomed by students ofnineteenth-century intellectual, literary,and art history.

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The PoetPainter
The Victorian Critic in Romantic Country

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About the author (1982)

Elizabeth K. Helsinger is John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor, Departments of English and Art History, and the College, University of Chicago. She is the author of several previous books, including "Ruskin and the Art of the Beholder" and "Rural Scenes and National Representation: Britain 1815-1850," She lives in Chicago.

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