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Stones of Venice [introductions]

by John Ruskin

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About Book

Washington Post Book World 10/19/03
"The enduring, passionate classic on architecture and Venice."

Book Description
John Ruskin, Victorian England's greatest writer on art and literature, believed himself to be an adopted son of Venice, and his feelings for this beautiful, melancholy city are nowhere better expressed than in The Stones of Venice, a collection of essays first published between 1851 and 1853. This abridged edition, which contains Ruskin's famous essay "The Nature of Gothic," captures the essence of his masterpiece, offering readers a marvelously descriptive and discursive tour of the glorious city of Venice before it was transformed by postwar restoration. As Ruskin wrote on his second visit to Venice in 1841, "Thank God I am here, it is a Paradise of Cities."

The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Treatise on architecture by John Ruskin. It was published in three volumes in 1851-53. Ruskin wrote the work in order to apply to the architecture of Venice the general principles enunciated in his The Seven Lamps of Architecture. Volume I, The Foundations, discusses architecture and its functional and ornamental aspects and presents a brief history of Venice. In Volume II, The Sea Stories, Ruskin discusses the Byzantine period and the climactic development of Venetian life, its Gothic period. In Volume III, The Fall, Ruskin puts forth his thesis that the onset of the Renaissance caused the city's architectural decline. Ruskin contended that Gothic architecture expressed "a state of pure national faith, and h domestic virtue" while Renaissance architecture expressed "concealed national infidelity, and h domestic corruption."

From the Publisher
The Stones of Venice has been described as the greatest guidebook ever written. Read by all who went there and thousands who did not, it opened Victorian eyes to the glories of a city even then under threat, and transformed the study and practice of architecture forever. It took Ruskin almost half a million words to launch this devastating attack on the Renaissance, and to explain how to see and make true architecture. They were “glorious words, but too many,” as J.G. Links put it while preparing this edition. Links, himself the greatest exponent of Venice of the 20th century, designed this abridgement to convey all the excitement, urgency, and love of Venice to a new generation of readers. John Ruskin (1819­1900), theorist and painter, was the greatest and most influential critic of the 19th century. His writing on art, architecture, and social issues fills forty volumes.

This edition is edited and abridged by J.G. Links. Links(1904­1997), author of Venice for Pleasure, considered by many to be the second greatest guidebook ever written after Stones, was an authority on Ruskin and his circle.

“It is a book for the lover of architecture, the lover of Venice, the lover of lost causes… but, perhaps, above all, for the lover of fine writing.” (J.G. Links)

About the Author
John Ruskin (1819-1900) was the most influential art critic of the nineteenth century. A champion of Turner and the Pre-Raphaelites, he was a prolific writer.



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