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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Faith Miller


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Faith Miller : [essay on John Ruskin: his life, his writings and his ideals]

'Meeting held at Gower Cottage, 28th May 1945
    Elsie D. Harrod in the chair.


4. The subject of the evening was John Ruskin, and Faith Miller gave us a most comprehensive and absorbingly interesting account of his life, his writings and his ideals. So complete was this survey, of a man who wrote so much & lived such a long and full life, that your secretary finds it difficult, in writing this minute, to maintain her reputation for being brief and to the point! But suffice it to say that Faith Miller’s discourse drew forth one of those spontaneous burst of applause only accorded on rare occasions for contributions of outstanding worth.

5. Cyril Langford then read a passage from “On the Nature of Gothic” setting forth Ruskin’s principle that the working creature is either a man or a tool – he cannot be both. He followed this with part of a modern commentary on Ruskin by R. H Wilenski which stated quite simply that Ruskin could not write because his mind had been drugged from birth onward by the emotive language of the Bible. This heterodox statement aroused strong opposition but it also had some support and a lively argument ensued, and indeed it seemed that Diplomatic relations between members were in danger of being broken off, when came in a timely invitation to supper from our hostess and we were united once more in our appreciation of the excellent refreshments provided.

6. Muriel Stevens then revealed to us Ruskin’s theories on Art & Artists & we hope she did not feel discouraged by the fact that members were apparently far more interested in the reproductions she passed round than in what Ruskin had to say about them. She also read from Picasso on “Cubism”, but this was a realm into which few, if any of us, could follow her.

7. Bruce Dilks then spoke of Ruskin’s ideas on political economy & social reform. We heard how he advocated a system of national education and attacked a state whose system of economics was based solely on the acquisition of wealth.

8. Finally Francis Pollard read a passage from “Sesame and Lilies”, skilfully selected to prove once & for all that Ruskin could write & that in a clear, forceful manner readily understood by anyone of even average intellect.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Faith Miller      Manuscript: Unknown


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