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Is Mr Ruskin Living Too Long?
Selected Writings of E. W. Godwin on Victorian Architecture, Design and Culture

Juliet Kinchin and Paul Stirton

the authors  |  bibliographic details | reviews

o Both indispensible reference book and perfect bedside reading for all those interested in Victorian architecture, design and culture .

Architect, designer, theatre pundit, and all-round Aesthete, E.W. Godwin was also a prolific and influential journalist. This book gives easy access for the first time to his opinionated and extremely entertaining writings across a wide spectrum of key Victorian debates.

Friend of Whistler, Oscar Wilde and William Burges, lover of Ellen Terry (and father of her illegitimate children) Godwin was intimately connected with High Victorian cultural life and a fearless commentator upon it. His witty criticism of notable contemporary architects carries us to the heart of the Battle of the Styles from the 1860s to the 1880s, while hilarious pen-pictures bring alive the lesser ranks of the profession, with its manipulative office life and annoying clients. His detailed descriptions of how he decorated and furnished his own very original houses give fresh and fascinating insight into aesthetic taste of the period. But Godwin was actively concerned also with theatrical design, art criticism, dress reform, health and archaeology. Indeed he regarded all these pursuits as linked together in a larger concept of 'Aestheticism'. This anthology gives an unrivalled sense of a wide-ranging engagement with modernity.

Godwin's writings come into their own, as extracts arranged round various themes. Each chapter is accompanied by an introductory essay, and helpful notes. Numerous contemporary magazine illustrations and cartoons highlight the text.

Includes a full bibliography of Godwin's writings and concise biographies of figures and organisations referred to in the text.

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Juliet Kinchin is Senior Lecturer and Hon Reader in History of Art at the University of Glasgow. Previously a curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum and at Glasgow Museums, she has published extensively on international exhibitions and on European architecture and design of the 19th and 20th centuries.

Paul Stirton is Senior Lecturer in History of Art and Fellow of the Centre for Whistler Studies at the University of Glasgow. He has published extensively and curated many exhibitions on European art and design of the 19th and 20th centuries. He is also the author of the Blue Guide to Provence.

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'Kinchin and Stirton have made a major contribution to scholarship with this collection. It is comprehensive, illuminating and authoritative. It is also lavishly illustrated and, as appropriate for a book about an apostle of artistic design, it is a joyous piece of book production.'
Dr Jeffrey Richards, Ruskin Review and Bulletin

'meticulously edited ... and published with the thought and care which one expects from White Cockade.
Godwin's journalism was lively and wide-ranging. To read him his to begin to understand the ideas and attitudes which surrounded the architecture and decorative arts of his time. ... an excellent introduction to the art-talk of the 1870s and 1880s.'
Alan Crawford, Crafts

'The authors have provided an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in the Victorian period, particularly that of the Aesthetic Movement. To dip into it is an enormous pleasure and every page contains a gem.'
Barbara Morris, Decorative Arts Society Newsletter

'What this collection reveals is the versatility of Godwin's talents - architect, decorative designer, theatrical designer ... and art critic - and his irascible, opinionated, contrary character as a man. He is an entertaining and confrontational writer, illuminating on many aspects of Victorian culture and the modernity of the Victorian view. ... it is for dipping into at random, when the reader will not fail to find something either amusing or annoying to think about.'
Charlotte Gere, The Art Newspaper

'Is Mr Ruskin Living Too Long? ia an admirable and important publication. The source material is fascinating and the scholarship that supports this primary material is of a high standard. I hope the book achieves the wide readership that it deserves.'
Jim Cheshire, Journal of William Morris Studies

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Publication 31 March 2005
ISBN 1 873487 12 6 pb £25 p&p free
416 pp, 283 b/w ill., 246 x 189 mm, bibliog., index