One of those tossed-off insights that so delight in Northrop Frye:
"The fact that the real source of wealth is potential fertility or new life, vegetable or human, has run through romance from ancient myths to Ruskin's King of the Golden River, Ruskin's treatment of wealth in his economic works being essentially a commentary on this fairy tale." (Anatomy of Criticism, 198)
Clive Wilmer calls this an "exaggeration"; I'd propose that we take it seriously indeed. To what extent do the images and themes of "King of the Golden River" ramify throughout, or run like subterranean rivers beneath, all of Ruskin's mature works?