By: John Ruskin (1819-1900)
Sesame and Lilies proposes and answers the questions, how, what and why to read in the context of how and why to live.
About earlier and later editions of the book containing the first two lectures alone, Ruskin wrote: "...chiefly written for young people belonging to the upper or undistressed, middle classes; who may be supposed to have choice of the objects and command of the industries of their life... if read in connection with “Unto This Last” it contains the chief truths I have endeavored through all of my past life to display… and am chiefly thankful to have learned and taught.” - Avallon, August 24, 1882*
This revised and enlarged edition is comprised of two prefaces and three lectures. The Preface-Last Edition is the preface to the earlier edition and references the Alps. The two lectures, “Of Kings’ Treasuries” and “Of Queens' Gardens,” appeared alone in the first editions and last editions. They were withdrawn from later editions, "not as irrelevant but as following the subject too far, and disturbing the simplicity in which the original lectures dwell on their several themes, -the majesty of the influence of good books, and of good women; if we know how to read them and how to honour."*
The lectures, Sesame: Of Kings' Treasuries and Lilies: Of Queens' Gardens were delivered in December 1864 at the town halls at Rusholme and Manchester. The third lecture, "Of the Mystery of Life and Its Arts" was delivered in the theater of the Royal College of Science, Dublin, 1868 and added to the book in editions first appearing in 1871.