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The Ethics of the Dust   By: (1819-1900)

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First Page:

THE ETHICS OF THE DUST

TEN LECTURES TO LITTLE HOUSEWIVES

ON THE ELEMENTS OF CRYSTALLIZATION

BY JOHN RUSKIN, LL.D.,

HONORARY STUDENT OF CHRIST CHURCH, AND SLADE PROFESSOR OF FINE ART

DEDICATION.

TO THE REAL LITTLE HOUSEWIVES, WHOSE GENTLE LISTENING AND THOUGHTFUL QUESTIONING ENABLED THE WRITER TO WRITE THIS BOOK, IT IS DEDICATED WITH HIS LOVE.

CHRISTMAS, 1875.

CONTENTS.

LECTURE

I. THE VALLEY OF DIAMONDS II. THE PYRAMID BUILDERS III. THE CRYSTAL LIFE IV. THE CRYSTAL ORDERS V. CRYSTAL VIRTUES VI. CRYSTAL QUARRELS VII. HOME VIRTUES VIII. CRYSTAL CAPRICE IX. CRYSTAL SORROWS X. THE CRYSTAL REST NOTES

PERSONAE

OLD LECTURER (of incalculable age).

FLORRIE, on astronomical evidence presumed to be aged 9.

ISABEL ..................................... " 11.

MAY ........................................ " 11.

LILY ....................................... " 12.

KATHLEEN.................................... " 14.

LUCILLA..................................... " 15.

VIOLET ..................................... " 16.

DORA (who has the keys and is housekeeper)... " 17.

EGYPT (so called from her dark eyes) ....... " 17.

JESSIE (who somehow always makes the room look brighter when she is in it) ........... " 18.

MARY (of whom everybody, including the Old Lecturer, is in great awe) ................. " 20.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

I have seldom been more disappointed by the result of my best pains given to any of my books, than by the earnest request of my publisher, after the opinion of the public had been taken on the "Ethics of the Dust," that I would "write no more in dialogue!" However, I bowed to public judgment in this matter at once (knowing also my inventive powers to be of the feeblest); but in reprinting the book (at the prevailing request of my kind friend, Mr. Henry Willett), I would pray the readers whom it may at first offend by its disconnected method, to examine, nevertheless, with care, the passages in which the principal speaker sums the conclusions of any dialogue: for these summaries were written as introductions, for young people, to all that I have said on the same matters in my larger books; and, on re reading them, they satisfy me better, and seem to me calculated to be more generally useful, than anything else I have done of the kind.

PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION.

The summary of the contents of the whole book, beginning, "You may at least earnestly believe," at p. 215, is thus the clearest exposition I have ever yet given of the general conditions under which the Personal Creative Power manifests itself in the forms of matter; and the analysis of heathen conceptions of Deity, beginning at p. 217, and closing at p. 229, not only prefaces, but very nearly supersedes, all that in more lengthy terms I have since asserted, or pleaded for, in "Aratra Pentelici," and the "Queen of the Air."

And thus, however the book may fail in its intention of suggesting new occupations or interests to its younger readers, I think it worth reprinting, in the way I have also reprinted "Unto this Last," page for page; that the students of my more advanced works may be able to refer to these as the original documents of them; of which the most essential in this book are these following.

I. The explanation of the baseness of the avaricious functions of the Lower Pthah, p. 54, with his beetle gospel, p. 59, "that a nation can stand on its vices better than on its virtues," explains the main motive of all my books on Political Economy.

II. The examination of the connection between stupidity and crime, pp. 87 96, anticipated all that I have had to urge in Fors Clavigera against the commonly alleged excuse for public wickedness, "They don't mean it they don't know any better."

III. The examination of the roots of Moral Power, pp. 145 149, is a summary of what is afterwards developed with utmost care in my inaugural lecture at Oxford on the relation of Art to Morals; compare in that lecture, sections 83 85, with the sentence in p... Continue reading book >>




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