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John Ruskin Prize

Clive Wilmer's Lectures in California

USC. Los Angeles: 2 September 2015
Human Nature and Natural Abundance:
John Ruskin and the Environment

A lecture by Clive Wilmer

ohn Ruskin (1819-1900) was a polymath: art critic, social critic, economist, naturalist, artist and philanthropist. He has even been credited with foreseeing climate change, which suggests something essential about his thought. He was a conservationist, in the built as well as the natural environment, and in 1871 he set up a utopian body, the Guild of St George, with the aim of restoring the link between art and craft, social wealth and natural abundance.

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Ruskin Art Club. Los Angeles: 3 September 2015
Ruskin's Language: How a Victorian Prophet Uses Words
A lecture by Clive Wilmer

As a boy John Ruskin wanted to be a poet. He abandoned that ambition early on, but continued to use language much as a poet does. His prose is not merely expository; it is also contemplative. It examines the complex meanings of words, explores etymologies, builds clusters of imagery, and generates literary symbols. It was through these essentially poetic methods that Ruskin succeeded in binding together the range and variety of his interests, creating a unified vision of art, nature and society.

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Colophon Club, Berkeley: 8 September 2015
John Ruskin, William Morris and the Revival of Craftsmanship
A lecture by Clive Wilmer

John Ruskin’s art criticism is also social criticism. His books The Seven Lamps of Architecture (1849) and The Stones of Venice (1851-53) shifted the focus of art history and criticism from abstract ideals of beauty to quality of workmanship and of work itself. This emphasis on craft and labour gave direction to the life and career of William Morris as designer, craftsman and design entrepreneur, and through Morris it generated the Arts and Craft Movement. (This lecture will end with some discussion of the Kelmscott Press.)

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Swedenborgian Church, San Francisco: 10 September 2015
Ruskin and the Guild of St George: Art, Craft and the Environment
A lecture by Clive Wilmer

John Ruskin (1819-1900) was a polymath: art critic, social critic, economist, naturalist, artist and philanthropist. He has even been credited with foreseeing climate change, which suggests something essential about his thought. He was a conservationist, in the built as well as the natural environment, and in 1871 he set up a utopian body, the Guild of St George, with the aim of restoring the links between art and craft, social wealth and natural abundance.

[Note. As the repeated synopsis implies, this lecture will be based on that at USC on 2nd September. The lectures will not be identical, however, and in this second lecture there will be more attention to the Guild than in the first. Conversely, the earlier lecture will have more to say about Ruskin as environmentalist prophet.]

About Clive Wilmer

Clive Wilmer is a poet and lecturer. Since 2009 he has been Master of the Guild of St George, the charity founded by John Ruskin in 1871. He is also Emeritus Fellow in English at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge, an Honorary Fellow of Anglia Ruskin University, and an Honorary Patron of the William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow. In the first half of 2015 he was a Visiting Professor at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice. In 1985 he edited Unto this Last and Other Writings by John Ruskin for Penguin Classics and is the author of several books of poetry, including New and Collected Poems (Carcanet, 2012).

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