SESAME AND LILIES by John Ruskin

You really have to keep going with Ruskin. He says plenty of absurd nonsense, some of it bordering on the offensive. This book contains some real howlers about religion and women that will make many readers, understandably, want to give up. DO keep going, however! The nonsense in a Ruskin book sits alongside some dazzling wisdom. Sometimes, the wisdom is actually folded into the nonsense. Reading Ruskin reminds me of someone carefully extracting precious metals from useless rock. It’s hard work but vital because Ruskin’s wisdom is extra precious. His examination of the necessity of education and literature in building moral foundations, both for individuals and for society as a whole, is permanently relevant. Put up with Ruskin. His insights are worth the occasional groans.

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