John Ruskin gives us a vision of life that is strangely united: how do a few essays about art, architecture, and economic reform relate to one another? Indeed, much of Unto this Last seems disjointed--and not all essays are of equal worth; some are quite dated and others are just weird. Notwithstanding, rays of light break through and give us an alternative way of being and community.
Ruskin proposes a Gothic society. Whether or not he truly understood it, Ruskin's vision is not too different from Augustine's in City of God book 19.4 and certainly echoes much of Plato's thought in The Republic. Ruskin notes that a society's architecture reflects its moral vision (233-234, 237). A Gothic society is one that arises out of a pure national faith and domestic virtue (239). This sounds like fascism, doesn't it? That's not what Ruskin has in mind. Following St Augustine, who reasoned that a society is one that shares its common objects and commonly loves its Object. Therefore, a pure national faith is nothing other than a society worshipping Christ and reflecting it, among other things, in its architecture. more >>
Sunday, November 6, 2011
A Gothic society
A short book review from Liturgical Poetics: