Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the circumstances

John Ruskin to Coventry Patmore

Oxford, 18th Nov. [1854.]
Dear Patmore,
I only got your note yesterday afternoon, owing to my absence from London for the moment. What you tell and show me of the notices of the Angel is only consistent with what I have long observed of press criticism. No thoroughly good thing can be praised or felt at once.

You need be under no apprehension as to the ultimate success of your poem. I don't think you will even need much patience. It has purpose and plain meaning in every line, it is fit for its age--and for all ages, and it will get its place. Its only retarding element is the strong resemblance to the handling of Tennyson, but this will not tell against it ultimately any more than Bonifazio's resemblance to Titian ought to make us cast Bonifazio out of our galleries.

The circumstances of my own life unhappily render it impossible for me to venture to write a critique on it for any publication but whatever my private influence can do shall be done.
Believe me, with regards to Mrs. Patmore,
Faithfully and respectfully yours,
J. Ruskin.

[link to: Effie Gray, Mrs. Ruskin.]
[Picture of John Ruskin above right, by John Everett Millais]

-from Memoirs and Correspondence of Coventry Patmore By Basil Champneys (London: George Bell and Sons, 1900) p. 278-279.

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