RUSKIN, John. The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century. Two Lectures delivered at the London Institution February 4th and 11th, 1884.

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Ruskin introduces climate change to the general reader

RUSKIN, John The Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century. Two Lectures delivered at the London Institution February 4th and 11th, 1884. Orpington, Kent: George Allen. 1884.

4to. Original green cloth, gilt lettering to spine; pp. vi + 152; a little rubbing to boards, previous owner's signature to half-title, very good.
First edition. One of the final works of this central figure in Victorian cultural life, this pair of lectures is one of the best-known pieces of nineteenth century environmental writing. Ruskin shows enormous vision in foreshadowing twentieth century fears over anthropogenic climate change, rightly identifying coal burning as the source of permanent environmental damage. He even points out that the effects have social as well as physical ramifications, the disproportionate suffering of the less advantaged being a particularly modern observation. For Ruskin, allowing this to happen was as much a moral failing as a scientific problem. Of course, most of his fellow Victorians thought he was mad.

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