The Lost Companions and John Ruskin's Guild of St. George: A Revisionary History

    Research output: Book/ReportMonographpeer-review


    This major work in Ruskin studies offers a timely re-evaluation of the origins, formation and workings of John Ruskin’s Guild of St George. Drawing on both significant and recently discovered archive material and existing research, this work looks afresh at the genesis of Ruskin’s ideas and their translation into practice.

    Since Ruskin criticism began, attention has been drawn to the Guild of St George, Ruskin’s attempt in the 1870s and 1880s to foster a series of self-sufficient, co-operative agrarian communities founded on principles of artisanal (non-mechanised) labour, and creativity and environmental sustainability. While endorsing previous accounts which point to the positive impact of Ruskin’s Guild, this book tempers such readings by considering the often destructive effect of Guild life on the Companions who worked in the communities. An astonishing wealth of previously unpublished correspondence reveals the extent to which Ruskin’s ideological position caused a failure to translate well-meaning idealism into effective social action, and often devastating consequences for those who worked St George’s land. By drawing on entirely new material, it is possible to reveal in detail for the first time the realities of Guild life over an extended period of time. This monograph provides an authoritative work on Ruskin’s utopian experiment, enriching ongoing discussions on sustainable community and bringing Ruskin’s work to a wider audience.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationLondon
    PublisherAnthem Press
    Number of pages264
    ISBN (Print)9781783082841
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014

    Publication series

    NameAnthem Nineteenth-Century Series
    PublisherAnthem Press


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