Monday, August 13, 2012

Cor magis tibi Sena pandit

Welcome to The Ruskin Seminar, the blog. I've started this blog for two reasons:

First, more practically, I wanted to set up a out-of-seminar-room space to continue (& perhaps to initiate) discussion in parallel to the graduate seminar I'm teaching this fall semester at Our Fair University, beginning in a bit over a week: "Ruskin and the Victorian Crisis." But I wanted to do so in a public-accessible forum, so that all of us who are directly participating in the "brick & mortar" seminar, as it were, could have the benefit of the knowledge & insight of interested internet passers-by.

I will be posting the syllabus for the seminar in a few days. Anyone who wants to read along and chime in is heartily welcomed.

Second, more selfishly, I wanted to set up a space where I could blog about Ruskin without feeling guilty. My more and more frequent Ruskin-posts have almost come to dominate my rather more longstanding blog, Culture Industry. Let them have their own space, I thought, and let them be mitigated & supplemented by other Ruskin-related voices.

The picture, by the way, is by James Northcote, RA, and depicts Ruskin at 3 years of age: "two rounded hills, as blue as my shoes, appear in the distance, which were put in by the painter at my request; for I had already been once, if not twice, taken to Scotland; and my Scottish nurse having always sung to me as we approached the Tweed or Esk,–
'For Scotland, my darling, lies full in thy view,
With her barefooted lassies, and mountains so blue,'
the idea of distant hills was connected in my mind with approach to the extreme felicities of life, in my Scottish aunt's garden of gooseberry bushes, sloping to the Tay."


  1. Just curious why the quote from Siena's Porta Camollia is here at the title of this entry, which doesn't mention Siena. Did you have an interest in Palio, which was three days away?

  2. Not in particular -- more as a welcoming gesture, and a bit of an "in-joke": Ruskin quotes this phrase, lovingly, in the very last paragraph of his autobiography Praeterita.