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A Torch at Midnight
A Torch at Midnight

A Torch at Midnight


512 Pages, 5.75 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper

Trade Paper, $55.00 (US $55.00) (CA $75.00)

Publication Date: November 2018

ISBN 9781843680772

Rights: US & CA

Pallas Athene (Nov 2018)
Museum of Illustration

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A study of John Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture

The first edition of John Ruskin's The Seven Lamps of Architecture is one of the most extraordinary books ever produced. Confronted with the task of explaining the complex and mysterious nature of medieval art, Ruskin produced a concept volume of Gothic art and architecture that embodied the principles it described. This arresting re-appraisal of Ruskin's great architectural books reveals the deep, esoteric roots of his philosophy. The Seven Lamps of Architecture and The Stones of Venice contain dark and hidden meanings in their fabric, structure and language that remain unrecognized by most readers. Their occult wisdom not only demonstrates Ruskin's understanding of the subtle visual and intellectual beauties of Gothic art, and the pagan cosmos on which it was based, but also reveals the true John Ruskin. The popular myth of Ruskin as the archetypal Victorian patriarch has persistently clouded interpretation of his ideas, introducing spurious psycho-social motives based on a misunderstood scandal. The Ruskin that emerges from A Torch at Midnight is quite different: heretical in religion, radical in politics, subversive in economics and relentless in the pursuit of truth and meaning. Faced with establishment suspicion of heresy in any sphere, he disguised his controversial ideas by drawing on a literary tradition going back through Goethe, Spenser and Dante to ancient Greece. A Torch at Midnight explores in detail the development of Ruskin's ideas and his presentation of them in his books. By demonstrating the visual and intellectual beauties of true design, Ruskin's aim was to intrigue and fascinate his readers to enlightenment.

Author Biography

Robert Brownell is the author of Marriage of Inconvenience, an account of Ruskin's brief marriage to Euphemia Gray.