PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
M. Wynn ThomasThe Other Side of the Hedge
(PN Review 239)
Next Issue Beverley Bie Brahic, after Leopardi's 'Broom' Michael Freeman Benefytes and Consolacyons Miles Burrows At Madame Zaza’s and other poems Victoria Kenefick Hunger Strike Hilary Davies Haunted by Christ
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

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

PART ONE: RETROSPECTIVE

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 ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image