London, South Kensington
13 November 2008
RUSKIN, John (1819-1900). Autograph letter signed ('J. Ruskin') to an unidentfied female recipient, 'Care of Arthur Severn, Herne Hill', 16 August 1880, 1½ pages, 8vo (small tear and light browning along centrefold, short repaired tear to second page).
On literature, and advice to a writer. Ruskin wishes to help, 'though I fear you do not in the least yet know how cruel I am to the professional toilers in literature'. Given that she is a writer he advises his correspondent to be thankful that she can still think and feel; 'whether you "succeed" or not, be thankful you had not yet succeeded in stifling your soul'.
In 1871, Ruskin's mother's companion, Joan Agnew, married Arthur Severn and moved into the former Ruskin home at Herne Hill.
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