RUSKIN, JOHN. Two autograph letters signed (''J Ruskin'') to the poet Roden Noel, Brantwood, Coniston, 15 February 1873 and n.d. Together 5 pages, 8vo, on Ruskin's imprinted stationery, integral second leaf of first letter laid down on larger sheet.
RUSKIN, JOHN. Two autograph letters signed ("J Ruskin") to the poet Roden Noel, Brantwood, Coniston, 15 February 1873 and n.d. Together 5 pages, 8vo, on Ruskin's imprinted stationery, integral second leaf of first letter laid down on larger sheet.
"BETTER THINGS THAN POETRY"
15 February 1873 (probably regarding Noel's book of poetry, The Red Flag, published in 1872): "...It [the book] interests me profoundly, and is the first piece of literary work I have yet seen which seems to me rightly in earnest, and clear in sight as to the state of things concerning us, in these days -- or Nights -- one should call them...I have only glanced at the book yet, and cannot tell what the outcome of it is: -- or is intended to be: but I am very desirous to know...Seeing and feeling there -- what are you going to do?..."
No date: "I do not mean by dramatic, insincere: -- I have got at the habit in all my writings of using words exactly in their literal sense -- in no other. It puzzles me terribly to find my readers -- even the most scholarly -- continually taking up my words in the popular instead of the proper sense. Shakespeare & Molière are both entirely sincere -- & entirely 'dramatic' -- putting everything into the form in which it can be represented with effect on a stage. Now we have enough drama -- to my thinking. Enough lyric poetry. Enough epic...But we have simply no history whatever of our own days. I meant - by saying your poetry was so sincere -- that the feeling in it was so deep that I hoped you were capable of what [Thomas] Carlyle and I both think -- being I fear (a minority of two) -- better things than poetry. I still think you entirely sincere -- but that -- at the root of all things in your mind is a strong love of applause -- which may much mislead you..."