Ruskin, the great Victorian critics of art and society, had an enormous influence on his age and our own. A highly successful propagandist for the arts, he did much both to popularize high art and to bring it to the masses. A brilliant theorist and practical critics of realism, he also produced the finest nineteenth-century discussions of fantasy, the grotesque, and pictorial symbolism.

Most who have written about this outstanding Victorian polymath have approached him either as literary critics or as art historians. In this book, which was first published in 1985, George P. Landow provides a more balanced view and offers a strikingly new approach which reveals that Ruskin wrote throughout his career as an interpreter, an exegete. His interpretations covered many fields of human experience and endeavour, not only paintings, poems, and buildings but also contemporary social issues, such as the discontent of the working classes.

Note on references;  Prologue:  Ruskin’s life;  Introduction;  1. Ruskin the word-painter  2. Ruskin the interpreter of the arts  3. Ruskin the interpreter of society  4. Ruskin interpreting Ruskin;  Conclusion;  Further reading;  A Ruskin chronology;  Index