Ruskin in Translation: Versions of Unto this Last in a Few Europeans Languages
Toward a Reception History of John Ruskin’s Social Thought
The article proposes to review the reception and transmission of John Ruskin’s social thought as expressed in Unto this Last (1862), translated and edited in different European languages. The text itself offers little room for variation, so that interpretations are voiced mainly in the editors’ introductions or afterwords, when they exist. This study finds that very few foreign versions do justice to Ruskin’s radicalism in his anti-capitalist and anti-industrial critique of modern society, his rejection of ‘progress’ and his refutation of political economy, while most take advantage of the occasion to express their own political and social views, often in blatant betrayal of Ruskin’s ideas.