John Ruskin’s idea of goodness became humanistic rather than religious; but though he wrote and lectured on many subjects, including art, literature, science, economics, and mythology, it was always in the spirit and manner of this early performance. His style was at first orotund and over-explicit, with a strictly logical system of sections and subsections. In middle age he tried hard to be less showy, more lucid, and more concise. His later style was delightfully informal and spontaneous, but almost unstructured. As it came closer to a pure stream of consciousness, it made more and more puzzling connections between apparently unrelated topics. He produced nearly forty fat volumes, not easily envisaged as a single whole, but a kind of conspectus may be based on his own comparison of a picture to a window. In most of his works he was either looking at pictures and other artefacts, or looking through them at the world outside.
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