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

Research output: Book/ReportMonographpeer-review

Abstract

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 An astonishing wealth of previously unpublished correspondence reveals the extent to which Ruskin’s ideological position caused a failure to translate well-meaning idealism into effective social action, and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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