Rosie & the Critic

THE LETTERS OF JOHN RUSKIN TO LORD AND LADY MOUNT-TEMPLE, edited by John Lewis Bradley. 399 pages. Ohio State University Press. $6.25.

John Ruskin was a critic of great ability and prodigious output. He was also a precocious child who remained until middle age the captive of wealthy, doting parents. An early Ruskin biographer wrote that shortly before her death in 1871, when his mother was nearly 90 and Ruskin 52, she still "ruled her son and her household with inexorable kindness."

The results of this kindness were known to Ruskin's friends, but were suppressed by most biographers and not generally known until...

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