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Killing the MoonlightModernism in Venice$
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Jennifer Scappettone

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231164320

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231164320.001.0001

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“The Entanglement of Memory”

“The Entanglement of Memory”

Reciprocal Interference of Present and Past in Ruskin’s Venetian Histories

(p.43) 1 “The Entanglement of Memory”
Killing the Moonlight

Jennifer Scappettone

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses art critic John Ruskin's analysis of Venetian structures and their concrete “Foundations.” His cautionary tale of Venetian rise and decline is based on “frank inquiry,” as opposed to “the indolence of imagination.” Deprived of Romantic embellishment, the fragments of Venice can be confronted in their immediacy—without resorting to habitual indulgence in their decay or to fanciful restoration, whether literal or literary. Ruskin's history is grounded on the actual stones of Venice, however battered or unstable. In tracking the evolution of Ruskin's methodology and style, the chapter affirms his struggle against the fact that modernity is, as art historian T. J. Clark argues, no longer characterized by a system of classification and control but, rather, by mixture, transgression, and ambiguity in the general conduct of life.

Keywords:   John Ruskin, Venetian structure, Romanticism, Venetian stones, modernity, T. J. Clark

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