|John Ruskin, Self-portrait, in Blue Neckcloth (1873)|
Monday, April 14, 2014
It is true that Ruskin’s heated religious upbringing made him inhibited and guilty about sex. It is also true that he had the Victorian desire to see women as angels, and to focus on little girls as more angelic than others – a trait shared by American Victorians like Henry Adams and Mark Twain. This form of nympholepsy did not make these men pedophiles. Rose was Ruskin’s Beatrice or Laura, not his preyed-upon Lolita.
Does it matter if John Ruskin was a pervert? It matters to me. I relish his writing. I want to be able to enjoy it without the guilt that I’m enjoying the work of a pedophile.