The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

John Ruskin and London

  • Giles WhiteleyEmail author
Living reference work entry


John Ruskin (1819–1900), the preeminent British art critic of his period, was a Londoner by birth, but his relationship to London is complicated, as was the significance of this response to the traditions of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century European writing on the city. By the end of his life, Ruskin had come to see London as the visible manifestation of the ills of both Victorian society and the industrial-capitalist system which produced this kind of modern city.

Ruskin was born on 8 February 1819 at 54 Hunter Street, Brunswick Square in Bloomsbury, where he spent the first 4 years of his life, before the family moved south of the Thames to Camberwell in 1823. Ruskin grew up at 28 Herne Hill, a large suburban semidetached property, which he recalls fondly as “a rustic eminence” in his autobiography, Praeterita(1885–1889). Both church and school were in the capital: the family initially attended Beresford Street Congregationalist Church, Walworth, hearing the...

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  1. Fuller, Peter. 1988. Theoria: Art and the absence of grace. London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  2. Hewison, Robert. 1978. John Ruskin: The argument of the eye. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
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  5. Ruskin, John. 1903–12. The Works of John Ruskin, ed. E.T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn. 39 vols. London: Longmans, Green & Co.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Stockholm UniversityStockholmSweden