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PN Review 276
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This article is taken from PN Review 54, Volume 13 Number 4, March - April 1987.

Camera Lucida (I) Peter Hoyle

For the last eleven years of his life, Ruskin, the champion of Turner, celebrator of Venice, lifelong traveller on the continent, remained under benevolent house arrest in his home Brantwood on the shores of Coniston Water, cared for by his cousin Joan Severn. In this final period, which followed several attacks of madness betweeen 1878 and 1889, Ruskin vegetated, unable to work, helpless, senile, with some lucid intervals and moments of insane rage, until his death in January 1900.

In blaming myself, as often as I have done, and may have occasion to do again, for my want of affection to other people, I must also express continually, as I think back about it, more and more wonder that ever anybody had any affection for me. I thought they might as well have got fond of a camera lucida, or an ivory foot-rule: all my faculty was merely in showing that such and such things were so; I was no orator, no actor, no painter but in a minute and generally invisible manner; and I couldn't bear being interrupted in anything I was about.

                                                                                                                                       - Ruskin, Praeterita


Gonfalons of smoke

Imagine a lifetime spent in darkness overcast by the shadow of smoke. Satanic mills. In and about AMIENS or MANCHESTER. AMIENS let us say. Cobwebs in my sight. Cobwebs in my head. The Eternal Prompter in my head: His direction, tone and ...

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