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The Ethics of Rust: an interpretation of Ruskin's gothic

Hughes, Peter

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The aim of the thesis is to demonstrate that the critical theories of John Ruskin have a particular interest to us at the end of the 20th century. The basis for this claim is that Ruskin’s mode of thought was essentially ecological. By this I do not mean to suggest that he was simply interested in nature conservation or environmental degradation. Rather, the term “ecological” is used to refer to a much broader paradigm shift. The thesis has three chapters, the 1st of which deals with broad...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorHughes, Peter
dc.date.accessioned2020-11-10T00:07:34Z
dc.date.available2020-11-10T00:07:34Z
dc.identifier.otherb19337164
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/214360
dc.description.abstractThe aim of the thesis is to demonstrate that the critical theories of John Ruskin have a particular interest to us at the end of the 20th century. The basis for this claim is that Ruskin’s mode of thought was essentially ecological. By this I do not mean to suggest that he was simply interested in nature conservation or environmental degradation. Rather, the term “ecological” is used to refer to a much broader paradigm shift. The thesis has three chapters, the 1st of which deals with broad cosmological issues. It traces an ecological pattern of thought in Ruskin’s critical writing, and defines ecology as a paradigm shift, in contrast to instrumental varieties of environmentalism. It shows how different understandings of nature are reflected, and reflect, understandings of human society and culture. The 2nd chapter examines Ruskin’s use of Gothic and Classical architecture as metaphors to describe these different world views. The Classical is made to represent a mechanistic and atomistic conception of reality which focuses on universals and mathematical abstraction. The Ruskinian Gothic represents a holistic and ecological conception of reality which focuses on the contingent and specific, and is rooted in the concrete experience of reality. The 3rd chapter seeks to demonstrate that these broad ecological concerns - through Ruskin’s interpretation of the Gothic - locate his theories about ornament within a broader critique of industrial civilisation. Because Ruskin saw ornament as essentially intermediary, located in the individual’s experience of nature, society and history, he believed it to be profoundly incompatible with industrial production. In this respect he was unlike contemporaries who sought to find a new ornamental style suited to the industrial era. Ultimately, Ruskin believed that art could not change the world, but argued that if the world wanted art it would have to change.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.subjectRuskin
dc.subjectgothic
dc.subjectclassicism
dc.subjectcraft
dc.subjectornament
dc.subjectdecoration
dc.subjectdesign
dc.subjectarchitecture
dc.subjectecology
dc.subjectenvironment
dc.subjectbiophilia
dc.subjectindustrialisation
dc.subjectindustrialization
dc.subjectmass production
dc.titleThe Ethics of Rust: an interpretation of Ruskin's gothic
dc.typeThesis (Masters)
local.contributor.supervisorBull, Gordon
local.contributor.supervisorcontactGordon.Bull@anu.edu.au
local.description.notesDeposited by the author 10.11.20.
local.description.notesThis docx version of the thesis is missing the illustrations (pages 142 to 169). These are available in the PDF version.
local.type.degreeMaster by research (Masters)
dc.date.issued1995
local.contributor.affiliationInstitute of the Arts (Canberra School of Art)
local.identifier.doi10.25911/5faa5e64c7cc0
local.mintdoimint
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