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500 Years of Corpus Christi: Ruskin’s Vision

Thursday 30 March 2017



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Expert in 19th-century aesthetics, ethics and ideas Dr David Russell explores Ruskin’s strange belief that teaching people to see the world around them with fresh eyes would make them better people, and so change the world.

Russell explains how Ruskin’s teaching worked and asks if it might be useful in our own time. Ruskin was the most famous art critic of the Victorian period, and one of its great social commentators. His writings on art, architecture and economic relations had a huge influence on Britain, and on communities as far away as the USA, India and Japan. Proust, Gandhi and the founders of the British Labour Party would all claim to be his heirs. But Ruskin’s reputation suffered precipitous decline in the 20th century. Although he is remembered for certain achievements, such as championing the painting of Turner, or revealing the beauties of Venice, his guiding vision is not well known.

Russell is an associate professor in English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His research interests are in the 19th century and particularly in style, aesthetics, ethics, politics and ideas in creative non-fiction prose.

This event is presented by Corpus Christi College as part of its 500th anniversary celebrations.