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Unto This Last and Other Writings (Penguin Classics) Paperback – February 4, 1986
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Top Customer Reviews
Ruskin began as an art critic, who wrote in favor of a naturalism based in the imagination rather than the eye. His works discussed the moral and political dimensions of art and architecture, and it was probably natural that this would lead him into his interest in socialism and the powerful writing found in _Unto This Last_. He was passionately arguing against the Utilitarianism of writers such as John Stuart Mill and others who saw immutable laws of economy which were rooted in anything except justice. His assertion was that the accumulation of money was in fact an accumulation of power rather than wealth, and necessarily resulted in an imbalance which adversely affected society. For instance, he said that a successful factory which polluted the environment could not be termed profitable because of the resulting damage to society itself.
This collection of Ruskin's works (edited and with commentary by Clive Wilmer) contains the whole of _Unto This Last_ and enough of a selection of his other works to give a sense of the chronological position of the essays in Ruskin's career.
The book features an early fairy tale by Ruskin which was written for his wife, an excerpt from _The Stones of Venice_ which discusses the nature of Gothic architecture, excerpts from _the Two Paths_ and _Modern Painters_, two lectures which were published as parts of _The Crown of Wild Olive_ and _Sesame and Lilies_, and finally ends with letters 7 and 10 from _Fors Clavigera_.Read more ›
The introduction by Clive Wilmer is extremely enlightening as it provides a background against which the book can be thoroughly enjoyed. This book cleared a lot of doubts I had for a long time on many things and I must say raised twice as many questions about what I thought right :-)
Ruskin has been praised by many people as being the vioce of truth. He starts his main essay from a story in the Bible and then blows the reader away with his acute judgements and impeccable logic. In the end all you can do is but agreee that 'There is no Wealth but Life'
Also recommend 'The Kingdom of God is Within You' by Tolstoy.
Ruskin was an arch-conservative, called himself High Tory and idealized the Middle Ages, medieval Venice in particular. In art, he supported the Romantic movement, and became known for defending the Romantic landscape painter Turner. Later, he associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, an ostensibly "medievalist" art movement. He also admired Gothic architecture for it's "savageness, changefulness, naturalism, grotesqueness, rigidity and redundance", usually considered negative features. To Ruskin, the seemingly chaotic style of Gothic buildings was truthful to nature, and he believed that the medieval workmen were free and creative spirits who could manufacture Gothic sculptures and ornaments according to their own whims. In many ways, he seems to have projected the Romantic view of the world back onto the High Middle Ages.
Ruskin shocked his pampered middle-class audience in 1860, when "Cornhill Magazine" began to serialize "Unto this last". This was not a work of art criticism, but a rather violent attack on capitalism! The subscribers to the magazine demanded that Ruskin's articles should be stopped, which they also were. Although unfinished, Ruskin published them in book form two years later.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In some important respects, "Unto This Last" is the most important - VALUABLE TODAY - book written by an Englishman in the 19th Century. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Peter Smith
small print, in depth reading, if your not into philosophy would be a difficult bookPublished 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is an excellent scholarly edition of Until This Last and writings by Ruskin highly relevant to Unto This Last. Read morePublished 16 months ago by D. Farkas
Iwas curious to read this man'work nd liked the edition I received..
Definitely not every one' cup of tea.especially tweet lovers.
This book contains Ruskin's writing "Unto This Last", which was the major commentary on political economy of which he was most proud. Read morePublished on March 30, 2013 by Will Jerom
This book is curiously completely unknown in France, where the other titles of Ruskin (on Gothic, or Venice) raised a long tradition of interest. Read morePublished on August 13, 2011 by Max Lapchin
If humankind ever has the opportunity to re-think its approach to civilized society, Unto This Last should be among the first of the new western canon. Read morePublished on July 2, 2011 by Ralph Potter
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? Read morePublished on December 13, 2009 by Jacob
Ruskin had a very refreshing and interesting point of view, and it's still valid today. Ruskin's ideology doesn't follow any left-right trends. Read morePublished on April 1, 2008 by Francois-Xavier Jette