We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE
OR
Atmospheres of Liberty: Ruskin in the Clouds

From: ELH
Volume 82, Number 1, Spring 2015
pp. 141-182 | 10.1353/elh.2015.0008

Abstract

Abstract:

John Ruskin’s cloud aesthetics develop a coherent, if figurative, inquiry into the nature of human liberty. His changing accounts of cloud formations across Modern Painters gradually place more emphasis on liberty within a framework of restraint and self-government. Attending to the shifting and equivocal senses of liberty in Ruskin’s aesthetic writings clarifies his scattered, often incompatible assertions in a range of later social and political tracts. Bridging aesthetic criticism with political writings uneasily poised between liberalism, republicanism, and authoritarian conservatism, this article discovers Ruskin as the theorist of a dynamic, aesthetic model of liberty and just social arrangements.