Account of a Tour on the Continent

Detailed Lists of Witnesses
In Poems (1891), W. G. Collingwood printed the title, Account of a Tour on the Continent, without square brackets, his symbol for declaring editorial intervention. Nonetheless, the title apparently originated with him, as Ruskin assigned no title to the sequence as a whole in any of the extant manuscripts (see Poems [4o, 1891], 1:119, 281; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:119, 282). Accordingly, in ERM, when the main title is fully spelled out, it is given without quotation marks, in keeping with the guidelines given in The System of Title Citation for Works. In commentary about the work, however, for convenience in the course of discussion, a short title is used with quotation marks (i.e., the “Account”) in order to avoid confusion with surrounding text.
It is possible that the fair copy of the “Account” in MS IX once held a title or at least a page designated for one, but that the evidence has been lost owing to the manner of the manuscriptʼs curation. According to an annotation in the hand of Alexander Wedderburn, after the time when W. G. Collingwood first described the manuscript (around 1890) “blank pages” were “removed” (see Manuscripts). There remains in the manuscript a blank page (11r) followed by a stub of a leaf where a title for the “Account” might logically have been placed (see also MS IX: Description).
In another, more minor discrepancy respecting the editorial title for the work as a whole, both Poems (1891) and the Library Edition cite the title in their respective tables of contents as “Account of a Tour on the Continent in 1833, but the title pages of the work in these editions lack the extension containing the date (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:xv, 119; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:xix, 119; Ruskin, Works, 2:xii, 340).
What titles Ruskin did supply refer only to individual verse and prose sections of the work. In the initial stage of composition, when Ruskin appears to have conceived the work as a sequence solely in verse (see Composition and Publication), the titles in MS IA, g.1 referred to individual poems, each named for the place described in the poem. Later, when he expanded the work by adding prose essays and graphic illustrations, these initial titles became section headings, each now naming the place which in most cases is described with a poem, a prose essay, and drawings.
When two selections from the “Account” were published in the literary annual, Friendshipʼs Offering, in late 1834 (see Composition and Publication), the selections were subsumed together under the title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal” (Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV, 317–19). The responsibility for assigning this title is unknown.
Because the “Account” is incomplete, and Ruskin failed to entitle several of the individual verse and prose pieces drafted in MS VIII (and even neglected entitling the last two sections he compiled as fair copy in MS IX), Collingwood invented titles for the untitled verse that he included in his arrangement of the work; and the editors of the Library Edition followed suit. In both editions, these titles are indicated as editorial using square brackets, but this practice was not carried out consistently. Some of these editorial titles are very convincingly what Ruskin had in mind, based on internal evidence; others were probably a guess. The editors appear not to have made studious use of the most authoritative source of Ruskinʼs titles for sections he left incomplete or undrafted—his List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, which he compiled on the back endboard of MS VIII at about the time he abandoned composition of the work.
Since the earlier editorsʼ speculative titles have become familiar, in ERM these are supplied in square brackets following a first‐line title. This practice is also used to supply otherwise untitled poems or essays with Ruskinʼs probable intended titles found in his List of Proposed Additional Contents. Additional clarification is provided in textual glosses where needed.
Composite verse and prose travelogue, illustrated with drawings in imitation of published engravings and lithographs.
As proposed in Composition and Publication, Ruskin and his father appear originally to have conceived the genre of the work as a travelogue solely in verse—a version represented by a manuscript now bound in MS IA, and designated in ERM as MS IA, g.1. The work returned to this characterization as an all‐verse travelogue, when selections were excerpted and revised under the title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal” (see Title). By this time, however, the scenario of a “Metrical Journal” was imaginary, since Ruskin had developed the work into a composite genre that included prose and graphic elements, along with poetry, in its MS IX version.
Facsimiles and transcripts by permission of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.
MS IA and MS VIII contain draft of verse and prose sections for the “Account”, and MS IX contains Ruskinʼs fair copy of the composite‐genre version. MS VII and MS XI include fair copy of a few sections in an unidentified hand.
As mentioned above in Title, MS IX was significantly altered after the time when W. G. Collingwood first described the manuscript. According to his “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS of the Poems”, Collingwood counted “pp. 25–111” for the “Account”, of which “about a third” of the pages “were filled with prose and verse in a good ‘copperplate’ hand, and with inserted drawings illustrating . . . [the] tour of the year before” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:265; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:266–67). On a slip with this printed description pasted onto it, which is tipped between the front endpapers of MS IX, Alexander Wedderburn annotated Collingwoodʼs description of “about a third of the book” being devoted to the “Account”: “Most of the blank pages have been removed & the book replaced in its old cover”. (Wedderburn does not identify the responsibility or explain the purpose for this treatment. His use of passive voice leaves open the possibility that someone besides himself was responsible—Joan Severn, for example, who owned the manuscript—and therefore one cannot necessarily take him at his word that the removed pages were completely blank.) Since Wedderburn does not specify (and may not have known) specifically which “blank pages” were removed, evidence may have been destroyed of how many blank leaves Ruskin may have left in various places to allow for insertion of text and/or drawings in portions of the “Account” that he left incomplete.
As explained in MS IX: Description, remaining stubs suggest that the removed pages did not necessarily form a continuous segment of the original notebook, but may have included leaves taken from between blocks of Ruskinʼs text. Drawings may also have been detached from their original positions where they were pasted between blocks of text and resituated. Rearrangement of drawings seems especially likely in the case of the gallery of untitled drawings that presently follows the page on which Ruskin abandoned his fair copy of the text. He may have assembled this gallery himself after he gave up expectation of completing the fair copy, but it seems at least equally probable that he originally placed the drawings on pages, now removed, where he planned for surrounding text.
Context was also lost respecting manuscripts bound in MS IA, which contains two manuscripts associated with the “Account”—those designated in ERM as MS IA, g.1, and MS IA, g.2. These manuscripts were not originally contained in MS IA, but were collected and bound along with other miscellaneous manuscripts by the editors of the Library Edition (see MS IA: Provenance). Prior to this arrangement, W. G. Collingwood was familiar with these two manuscripts when editing the “Account”, as indicated by various textual details in his copytext of poems published in Poems (1891). He did not, however, document where and in what state he originally found them, and any such context was lost when they were later bound with the MS IA miscellany.
Collingwood also largely neglected to identify the source of his copytext for particular poems. Apart from his general rule of adopting copytext from previously published versions, where available (a rule that applied to only three poems from the “Account”), he drew on what he vaguely designated as “originals”. His sources can be reconstructed easily enough; for example, MS IA, g.2, is the sole extant source of two poems, “Passing the Alps” and “Milan Cathedral”, both of which are included in Collingwoodʼs version of the “Account”. In the Library Edition, for all its dependency on the Poems (1891), Cook and Wedderburn were more attentive than Collingwood in documenting the manuscript sources used for copytext or to identify variants. For example, Collingwood rewrites a line of the poem “Calais”, justifying the innovation by what he considers “neither rhyme nor reason” in an unidentified “original” (i.e., MS IA, g.1). The faulty line, he decides, is a mis‐transcription of a line from a “rough copy, now lost”, the existence of which is entirely suppositious, but which he declares to have been somehow “insufficiently altered”. The editors of the the Library Edition reject Collingwoodʼs rewritten line, finding merit in Ruskinʼs “fatherʼs copy” of “Calais” (i.e., MS IA, g.1, which is partly in the hand of John James Ruskin, with interlinear revisions by John), and they cross‐check the line with Ruskinʼs “fair copy” (MS IX) (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:280–81; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:282; Ruskin, Works, 2:341 n. 2).
Collingwoodʼs editorial approach to the “Account” and its manuscripts values editorial intervention over documentary text, even though he cherishes manuscripts. Throughout the 1891 Poems, he consistently awards priority and adheres faithfully to previously published versions of texts—in the case of copytext for the “Account”, deferring to earlier editorsʼ interventions that resulted in texts as published in Friendshipʼs Offering and Poems (1850). He pays comparatively little deference to texts as found in manuscripts, allowing himself latitude that presumably was taken by his predecessors, and holding himself to an editorial principle that can at best be summarized as aesthetic preference. Creative writing is justified, if he can discern “neither rhyme nor reason” in a line, and the design of the 1891 Poems rules over the reconstruction of the “Account”, which is presented as a work solely in verse, despite Ruskinʼs intentions for a composite verse, prose, and graphic work, as reflected in his fair copy. Collingwood labored to construct an accurate manuscript chronology in the “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS of the Poems”, resulting in a deservedly influential document in the history of Ruskin editing and manuscript curation, but his concept of an “original manuscript” entailed no responsibility to apply that chronology meaningfully to the editing of a given work by reconstructing its compositional history.
Thus, in editing the “Account”, Collingwood drew the main copytexts of “Andernacht” and “St. Goar” from their publication as “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, subordinating their manuscript texts to endnotes containing what he calls their “first sketch” or “first draft” (the terms are apparently interchangeable), conceding that “it may be interesting to compare the two versions” (manuscript and publication) in order to show, “if for nothing else, . . . that the young poet could polish when he chose, and that he would have eliminated the slipshod grammar and faulty rhymes if he had prepared the rest of his juvenile verses for publication”. It seems not to have struck Collingwood that the interest in comparing published and manuscript versions lay, not in copyediting corrections (Ruskinʼs manuscript texts, draft or fair copy, contain remarkably few errors of this kind), but in differences of diction, economy, and the respective projects to which the versions belonged. The term first sketch or first draft belies the manuscript versions of “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, which are not “slipshod” sketches or drafts but exacting fair copies—the MS IX versions transcribed in a “copperplate” hand directly or indirectly from the MS IA, g.1, versions, a manuscript that itself appears to be a presentation copy (purpose unknown). Regardless, for Collingwood, the varieties of manuscript textual witness collapse into “originals” versus “polished” versions, the former disarmed of textual authority and open to seemingly limitless editorial intervention, and the latter given unquestioned authority though abstracted from the social history of editors, publishers, and printers that bestowed the authority in the first place (what Ruskin supposedly would have wrought for himself, had he “chose”) (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:281–83; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:283–85).
In place of this missing textual history, Collingwoodʼs edition substitutes a documentary history of artifacts, a “study of these ancient Codices, and of their Palæography”, resulting in “a complete sequence of the phases of Mr. Ruskinʼs handwriting from the earliest period”. The paleography, witnessed in the edition by photogravures of specimens of Ruskinʼs boyhood hand, is meant to pique the “curiosity” of collectors, those who want “to collect [Ruskinʼs] boyish writings and to learn the story of his youth”. Possession of these physical specimens imparts the illusion of a textual history, satisfying “a peculiar interest in watching development, in witnessing growth” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:261, xix; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:282, v). Just as important as the physical manuscripts for Collingwood, as records of Ruskinʼs hand, are the drawings. To embellish his edition of the “Account”, however, Collingwood passed over the obvious choice of Ruskinʼs handmade illustrations for the MS IX fair copy, drawn in the manner of steel‐engraved vignettes, in favor of pencil sketches taken during the 1833 tour. For Collingwood, the correlative of a “first sketch” manuscript poem was a picturesque sketch taken on the spot; and an “original”, in word or picture, meant an experience. Ultimately, the story of “development” that he wishes to tell is the persistent presence of that experience (see Composition and Publication).
Date of Composition
None of the manuscripts is dated by Ruskin. Presumably, a terminus a quo for composition is established by the familyʼs departure for the Continent shortly after John James Ruskinʼs 10 May 1833 birthday, and it is possible that Ruskin began composition no earlier than following their return home in late September 1833. Neither of these possible termini a quo can be ruled out by the physical evidence of what is likely the earliest extant manuscript, MS IA, g.1. This manuscript, which is in the hands of both father and son, conceivably could date even from the journey itself (see Composition and Publication).
If one chooses the return home to Herne Hill as the terminus a quo for MS IA, g.1, that date would fall a few days after 19 September 1833, which was the date when the family reached Boulogne, according to John Jamesʼs travel diary (Diary of John James Ruskin, 1833–46, 74). A few more days would have been required in order to transact business and cross the Channel at Calais.
Whatever the date of the start of composition (which may, of course, have been witnessed by manuscripts no longer extant, although no evidence indirectly hints at this), it is likely that Ruskin carried out the bulk of the composition and fair copying (especially the composite‐genre version) between the return home in late September 1833 and his delivery of revised text for “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, along with a separate poem, “Saltzburg”, to the editor Thomas Pringle (1789–1834) for publication in Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV. The latest possible date for completed revision and delivery of these poems was in August 1834 (previously misdated by W. G. Collingwood as December 1835). It is possible and even likely that, in order to devote his attention to these exciting commissions, Ruskin ceased steady work on his composition and fair copy of the “Account” some months earlier than the August 1834 deadline—perhaps abandoning the process in May 1834.
Strong evidence in MS VIII shows that Ruskin labored on both draft and fair copy of the “Account” through the first third of 1834, the period when he normally prepared anniversary poetry for his fatherʼs May birthday—the poems, namely, “The Address” and “The Vintage”, along with another poem, “The Crystal Hunter”, which he mentions in a 22 February 1834 letter to his father as having been “brought to a standstill, else should be sent” (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 280; and see MS VIII: Contents, b.2).
Some very tenuous evidence exists that Ruskin extended work on the project until much later into the year, past September 1834. In the prose section of “Brussels””, Ruskinʼs description of a distant view of the city resembles features in an engraved view of the subject based on a drawing by J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), an engraving that Ruskin could not have seen prior to its publication in September 1834 (see the gloss on Ruskinʼs description of the cathedral towers in “Part of Brussels” [part 1]). However, the similarity between Ruskinʼs and Turnerʼs prospects could be coincidental, whereas the evidence for dating the draft of this prose section of “Brussels”, which occurs in MS VIII, weighs heavily in favor of an earlier date, between February and May 1834.
If the versions of the first five poems of the “Account” in MS IA, g.1, can be associated with a terminus a quo of composition in the last quarter of 1833, and the draft of “Saltzburg” in MS VIII can be associated with the terminus ad quem in August 1834, by which time Ruskin had abandoned composition and fair‐copying for publication (no witness survives of Ruskinʼs draft revision of “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”), the stint of draft of “Account” in MS VIII falls naturally in between these points. Ruskin probably started this MS VIII draft around the time of his 8 February 1834 birthday, when he received certain books that can be associated with the onset of this draft (see Composition and Publication). This important stint—which consists largely of first drafts of poems relating to the Alpine and Italian stages of the tour, along with draft of prose that Ruskin was simultaneously folding along with the earlier‐composed poems on the Belgian and German stages into the MS IX fair copy—can therefore be dated approximately between his fifteenth birthday on 8 February and his fatherʼs forty‐ninth birthday on 10 May.
The evidence of overlap between Ruskinʼs activities of drafting in MS VIII and fair‐copying in MS IX yields somewhat narrower dating. In the MS VIII draft, the fact that the fifteenth and seventeenth items in the sequence form draft of the prose essay, “Brussels” suggests that by this point Ruskin had fair‐copied in MS IX the full composite sections of verse, prose, and drawings for “Calais”, “Cassel”, and “Lille” (no drafts of the prose essays for the latter two sections are extant; see Drafting the Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS VII, VIII, XI]). These first sixteen pages of fair copy and inserted drawings, while a complex undertaking, do not represent an enormous labor, so it is conceivable that Ruskin started work on the MS IX fair copy very near the onset of the MS VIII draft.
The MS VIII stint of draft terminates physically up against a recto page containing draft of Ruskinʼs ekphrastic and topographical poem, “Saltzburg”, commissioned for Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV. Because W. G. Collingwood dated this poem from toward the end (October‐December) of the Ruskinsʼ 1835 tour of the Continent, he argued that Ruskin must have inserted its draft on a page of MS VIII that he had left blank following the 1833 [sic] draft of the “Account”. As argued below in Composition and Publication, however, the draft of “Saltzburg” falls physically in a logical place in MS VIII, when properly dated as 1834. Its placement at the point where the MS VIII “Account” draft abruptly ends indicates that the commission of “Saltzburg” and “Fragments from a Metrical Journal” for Friendshipʼs Offering distracted Ruskin from the “Account”, and that he probably never returned to the project with sustained energy.
A benchmark often connected with Ruskinʼs composition of the “Account” is his acquisition of the 1830 illustrated edition of the topographical poem Italy by Samuel Rogers (1763–1855). According to his story in the autobiography, Praeterita, it was the gift of this book for Ruskinʼs thirteenth birthday in February 1832 along with the familyʼs acquisition by subscription a year later, in April 1833, of Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany by Samuel Prout (1783–1852) that prompted the Tour of 1833 (Ruskin, Works, 35:79; and see Discussion). The Ruskins did bring home Proutʼs folio in April 1833, but it is absurd to imagine that it prompted Margaretʼs suggestion that the family “should . . . go and see some of [the wonderful places] in reality,” and that forthwith “there were two or three weeks of entirely rapturous and amazed preparation” for such a journey. As John Dixon Hunt points out, a letter by Ruskin from 21 March 1831 indicates that the Ruskins had been planning their “Switzerlandish outlandish tour to Italy” for at least two years (Ruskin, Works, 35:79; Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 286 n. 1, 253; and Hunt, The Wider Sea, 48).
The more elusive date is when the Ruskins acquired the 1830 edition of Italy. The question is of some interest, since, as argued in Composition and Publication, Ruskinʼs “Account” underwent a development similar to that of Rogersʼs Italy—evolving from an all‐verse to a composite‐genre work. In the autobiography, Ruskin admits that he has “told this story so often” about the influence of Rogerʼs book and its revelation of Turnerʼs art, “that I begin to doubt its time”. In Praeteritaʼs typically dramatizing fashion, Ruskin declares that “the main tenor of my life” was set on 8 February 1832 by the birthday gift from his fatherʼs business partner, Henry Telford (d. 1859). “It is curiously tiresome that Mr. Telford did not himself write my name in the book, and my father, who writes in it, ‘The gift of Henry Telford, Esq.,’ still more curiously, for him, puts no date: if it was a year later [i.e., 8 February 1833], no matter” (Ruskin, Works, 35:79).
In fact, the date range for acquaintance with Rogersʼs Italy is even wider. In a non‐illustrated edition, Rogersʼs poem had been in the Ruskin household since 1828 at the latest (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 188 n. 4). This happens to be the year when Rogers published “Part the Second” of the poem; and growing disgusted over the workʼs tepid reception, he bought out remaining copies of both that volume and “Part the First”, and destroyed them (Rogers, Italy [1828]; Rogers, Italy [1823]; and see Samuel Rogers [1763–1855]). Thus, even before Rogersʼs poem achieved popularity in the illustrated edition, the Ruskins could count themselves among the select number of appreciative readers of the work in its original form; and it is possible that Telfordʼs gift of the 1830 edition contributed to the familyʼs travel plans even earlier than Ruskin remembered. The first mention of “our Switzerlandish outlandish tour to Italy” occurs in the family letters for March 1831, a month after Ruskinʼs twelfth birthday (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 253).
More significant than the year when Rogersʼs work first helped to shape expectations for the journey, however, is a confirmation of its special influence immediately following the familyʼs return from the Continent. According to Van Akin Burd, John James purchased a copy of Italy in October 1833, notably soon after the familyʼs September return home (Ruskin Family Letters, 286 n. 1). Actually, the October entry in John Jamesʼs personal accounts ledger records a purchase that was germane specifically to the “Account” rather than to the Continental tour generally. The entry reads “Plates Italy 28/6” (John James Ruskin, Account Book [1827–45], 29v); and although the lack of Rogersʼs name renders identification uncertain, the term plates and the cost—higher than the 1 £/1 s. cost of a copy of the 1830 Italy in paper boards—strongly suggest a portfolio of its plates alone. As Jan Piggott explains, “the publishers of almost all the books illustrated with Turner vignettes made the engravings better known and made more profit by selling portfolios of prints from the plates. These were available in ranks of quality and price: engraverʼs proofs; on India paper; before and after lettering; and on varying sizes of paper—even on the absurdly large Colombier folio—to satisfy the competitiveness of connoissures” (Turnerʼs Vignettes, 24). While Rogersʼs strictly poetic influence on the “Account” was certainly considerable (see The Influence of Rogersʼs Poetry on Ruskinʼs Planned Extension of the Composite‐Genre Travelogue to Italy and Switzerland), it was the ekphrastic influence of book illustration by Turner, Stothard, Prout, and others, and the materiality of the print culture conveying their artistry, that particularly inspired Ruskinʼs project, especially its expansion into a composite‐genre, illustrated version—an expansion that mimics Rogersʼs own reconception of his work.
Date of Publication
W. G. Collingwood attributed the first published version of writing for the “Account”, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, to 1835, taking this date from the literary annual in which it appeared, Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV. He neglected to account for the fact that the title pages of annuals always carried the year following the actual year of publication, since they were produced for gift‐giving during the holiday season of Christmas and New Yearʼs. In addition, Collingwood was befuddled by his assumption that the second poem by Ruskin in this volume of Friendshipʼs Offering, “Saltzburg”, could have dated no sooner than the Ruskin familyʼs visit to Salzburg, which occurred during their Continental Tour of 1835, since it was evidently inconceivable to Collingwood that Ruskin might have written about a place he had never seen. In fact,Ruskin based his poem, not on first‐hand experience, but, like many writers commissioned to supply letterpress for the annuals, on an acquaintance with a place that extended no farther than the engraved vedute that they were hired to complement with their writing, and on whatever information they could glean from published sources. The “1835” volume of Friendshipʼs Offering was released for sale in November 1834, a full year prior to the Ruskinsʼ visit to Salzburg, and so of course his composition of both “Saltzburg” and “Fragments from a Metrical Journal” occurred even earlier in that year (see Collingwood, Life and Work of John Ruskin, 1:59–60; and Poems [4o, 1891], 1: 280–83 n. 28, n. 30, and n. 32; Poems [8o, 1891], 1: 282 n. 28, 283–85 n. 30 and n. 32).
The next published appearance of a work derived from the “Account” was the inclusion of the poem, “Ehrenbreitstein: Fragment from a Metrical Journal (Ætat 16)”, in Poems by J.R. (1850). The first publication of the “Account” considered as a project in itself, and not “fragments” derived from it, was the all‐verse version arranged by Collingwood (a version that, in Ruskinʼs realization, never extended beyond the sequence of the five poems in MS IA, g.1); Collingwoodʼs version was published in 1891 (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:119‐63, 280‐83; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:119‐63, 282‐85). A version truer to Ruskinʼs conception of a composite‐genre work followed in 1903, included in the second volume of the Library Edition, edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn (Ruskin, Works, 2:340‐87). For more on the circumstances of publication, see Publication below.
Composition and Publication
Along the way, the reader is occasionally referred to textual and contextual glosses that hang from the transcripts of certain witnesses, elaborating what particular poems, essays, or drawings, or clusters of pieces, reveal about literary and artistic influences and compositional strategies.
The analysis is supported by Table 1 listing the sequential contents of each of the manuscripts, and the contents of the published versions of the work. The table also tracks Ruskinʼs system of Line Numbering in the draft.
Ruskin left the “Account” incomplete, abandoning the fair copy in mid‐sentence, with much existing draft remaining to be incorporated, and much more proposed composition to be undertaken according to his grand scheme for extension of the work (List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”). Arguably, however, the work should be viewed less as the “unfinished folly” that Ruskin retrospectively mocked in Praeterita and more as a project exhibiting his rapid development as a writer (Ruskin, Works, 35:81). The manuscripts show a work undergoing transformations, with each stage of development displacing the former. The “Account” served its purpose by repeatedly capping its goals until the project was rendered obsolete by publication of poems derived from it, which announced the emergence of Ruskinʼs first significant public persona, “J.R.”.
The hypothesis advanced here is that Ruskin developed the work in fairly distinct stages, from a verse travelogue in the eighteenth‐century topographical manner—as represented by MS IA, g.1, a collaboration with John James Ruskin—to a composite‐genre, illustrated travelogue that reflected the material culture surrounding the ekphrastic and travel‐related publishing of the 1830s. Finally, Ruskin found himself being brought forward as a published author, credited with two works in the fashionable literary and artistic annual, Friendshipʼs Offering. To form one of these published works, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, he revised a pair of poems selected from “Account”. The title suggests a reversion to the initial conception of the “Account” as a verse sequence. To form the second work, the topographical and travel poem, “Saltzburg”, he did not adapt material directly from the “Account”, but he deployed strategies learned from the ekphrastic and composite‐genre character of the workʼs advanced stage of composition. Draft of “Saltzburg” also reveals Ruskin venturing to define a persona behind the initials J.R. attached to the published poems.
The Verse Travelogue (MS IA, g.1)
The first known stage of composition is represented by a manuscript, consisting of two sheets, which is designated in ERM as MS IA, g.1. The manuscript was bound in MS IA, in the course of preparing the Library Edition (see The Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS IA, g.2]; and for a full physical description, see MS IA: Contents, section g).
Apparently reflecting a collaboration, the manuscript is in the hands of both John and John James Ruskin, and contains a fair copy, with corrections, of five poems, which sequentially narrate the familyʼs first stage of their journey, taking them through northern France and Belgium. Each poem is entitled by a significant destination along this route: “Calais”, [“Cassel”] (untitled in this manuscript, but titled as such in a later fair copy), “Lille”, “Brussels”, and “The Meuse”. No title identifies the sequence as an entity.
The case for this manuscript as the earliest extant piece of the “Account” project is based on the fact that its in‐line and interlinear insertions, deletions, substitutions, transposition of lines, and other revisions are incorporated into the MS IX fair copies of these poems (see, e.g., the textual and contextual glosses attached to the transcripts of the five poems), and on the fact that Ruskinʼs sequence of drafting the prose essays that correspond to the five poems, as witnessed in the MS VIII draft, necessarily situates the MS IA, g.1 texts as existing prior to both the drafts and the fair copies of these essays (see Drafting the Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS VII, VIII, XI]).
I interpret this manuscript as witnessing an all‐verse version of the travelogue, composed with some degree of collaboration by father and son. As discussed in Date of Composition, the manuscript is undated, and it remains an open question whether it was composed during the May–September 1833 journey itself, or following the familyʼs return home around 20 September.
The recto of sheet 1 of the manuscript begins with the poem, “Calais”, entitled as such, and in the hand of John James Ruskin. On the verso, John James continued with the poem, [“Cassel”] (untitled, and therefore identifiable as a new poem following “Calais” only on the grounds of the two poemsʼ separation in the MS IX fair copy). At line 19 of [“Cassel”], Johnʼs hand takes over (not Margaretʼs, whose terminal letters are typically formed differently than what prevails here). Ruskin carries the poem onto sheet 2 of the manuscript (evidence, along with their physical similarity, that the two sheets form a single manuscript), filling recto and verso with the continuation of [“Cassel”], “Lille”, “Brussels”, and “The Meuse”.
The physical manuscript bears the appearance of a self‐standing fair copy, which was later subjected to revision. No other extant manuscript belonging to the “Account” project consists solely of verse, and the arrangement of lines on the page indicates more care than in a draft. On sheet 1, John Jamesʼs large, eighteenth‐century hand takes up the full width for each line, and John sustained his fatherʼs single column, but in narrower scope and a smaller hand; however, on the verso of sheet 2, John stacked the lines in double columns, as if imitating printed verse (although he inserted the final poem in the sequence, “The Meuse”, sideways in space remaining on the recto of sheet 2, rather than starting a third sheet). The few substitutions—all apparently in Johnʼs hand, although not certainly so, especially in the case of overwriting—are mostly interlinear, made as strikethroughs with insertions above or below the line, with only a few instances as in‐line revisions, suggesting that these changes formed a distinct stage of this manuscriptʼs development, following its original purpose as a fair copy. Moreover, in the margins of both sheets, Ruskin numbered the lines of the poems sequentially and continuously (1–173); that is, he did not begin his line numbering anew with each poem, suggesting that he regarded the poems as forming a sequence.
It is possible that John James originally authored “Calais” and at least the first 18 lines of [“Cassel”], which are in his hand, and that John thereafter took over the composition, revising some of his fatherʼs lines in the process. This scenario cannot be absolutely proven, but neither can Cook and Wedderburnʼs assumption that sheet 1 of the manuscript bears witness to John Jamesʼs “copy” of his sonʼs original verse (Ruskin, Works, e.g. 2:341 n. 2). On the evidence of substitutions in Johnʼs hand, it is notable that in‐line revisions occur solely in lines written originally in his hand, whereas his revisions of lines written originally in John Jamesʼs hand occur solely as interlinear or overwriting, possibly suggesting that John had no part in a first stage of composing this sheet.
Further research is required to gauge the extent and nature of father and sonʼs collaboration. It is at least evident that the material witness of this manuscript indicates some degree of poetic collaboration by father and son, and it is noteworthy that this collaboration took place within the frame of the Augustan verse travelogues that prevailed in John Jamesʼs youth, rather than the manner of Rogers, Scott, Byron, Dickens, and the jobbing prose writers that dominated the scene during Johnʼs first decade as an author (see Hanson, “Ruskin in the 1830s”). In effect, this sequence of five poems stands vis‐à‐vis the composite‐genre work that the “Account” became, as does the classical verse of Samuel Rogersʼs Italy vis‐à‐vis that workʼs repackaging in 1830 as an up‐to‐date, illustrated travelogue featuring the newly invented steel engraving.
The Composite‐Genre Travelogue (MS IA, g.2)
In a second stage of composition, Ruskin reconceptualized and elaborated the work as a composite‐genre rather than as a solely verse travelogue. This stage is epitomized in brief by a folded sheet, designated in ERM as MS IA, g.2. Like MS IA, g.1, the manuscript was bound as part of MS IA in the course of preparing the Library Edition (see The Verse Travelogue [MS IA, g.1]; and for a full physical description, see MS IA: Contents, section g).
The manuscript appears to be a semi‐fair copy, with corrections, and it is entirely in Ruskinʼs hand. The contents, unlike those of MS IA, g.1, are non‐sequential relative to the actual tour, but they do appear selected to represent the major regions into which the tourʼs itinerary was broadly divided. The contents also mix genres, introducing a prose essay, which is placed first in the group: “Calais”. With this essay representing the tourʼs point of entry to the Continent (as does the essayʼs verse counterpart in MS IA, g.1), there follow four poems, which seem to form two geographically related pairs: “Passing the Alps” and “Milan Cathedral”, representing the southern and Alpine regions that occupied the second half of the tour; and “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, representing the Rhine journey that occupied the first half. It is not clear why the manuscript positions the two pairs in a topographical order that is the reverse of the familyʼs encounter with these places, as they journeyed down the Rhine to the Black Forest, and then crossed the Alps and descended to the Italian lakes and Milan.
This suggestion of an organizational feature is conjectural, as no title identifies the five pieces as an entity, and the purpose of the manuscript is unclear. I interpret the manuscript as a sample or abstract of the fully developed composite‐genre work, but the occasion that prompted its creation is unknown. The manuscript is undated, but it must have pre‐dated the MS IX fair copy, which incorporates its corrections and substitutions in the prose essay, “Calais”, and in the poems “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”. The manuscript is the sole surviving witness for the other two poems, “Passing the Alps” and “Milan Cathedral”, the MS IX fair copy having been abandoned toward the end of sections describing the Rhine journey, before the sequence could arrive at the crossing of the Alps. The manuscriptʼs place in the evolution of the “Account” appears to be a transitional one between the all‐verse and the fully developed composite‐genre versions, since it contains not only a mix of genres (but no graphic illustrations) but also a selection of works about destinations that seems strategic. The audience and occasion of the manuscript will, however, probably always remain obscure.
The manuscript also holds keys to tracing the influence of Samuel Rogersʼs poetry in Italy, beyond the material influences of the volumeʼs organization, typography, and illustration. Although Ruskin would develop these poetic influences more substantially afterward, in the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, and in poems corresponding to that plan that he drafted in MS VIII (see The Influence of Rogersʼs Poetry on Ruskinʼs Planned Extension of the Composite‐Genre Travelogue to Italy and Switzerland), the poem “Passing the Alps” reveals that, at this earlier stage, Ruskin made a study of Rogersʼs poem, “The Alps”. He borrowed and elaborated on Rogersʼs historical trope of Hannibal struggling against the “barrier” of the Alps, and he perceived how the trope could serve as a structural pivot in a workʼs larger organization—between north and south, mountain and plain, the sublime and the beautiful. It is also probably no accident that the manuscript reflects Rogersʼs classical principles of complementary contrast in the pairing of the gothic poem, “Andernacht”, with the domestic poem, “St. Goar”. Rogers may also contributed to Ruskinʼs idea of pairing poems with essays. While Italy contains only a few prose essays, and the work is not arranged in composite‐genre sections, Rogersʼs copious prose notes to the poems were as important to the author as his meticulous verse (see Hale, introduction to The Italian Journal of Samuel Rogers, 49–50). Ruskinʼs voice in the prose avoids Rogersʼs pedantry and seriousness, however; and while Italy may have suggested strategies for multi‐genre complexity, Ruskinʼs models for the prose lay elsewhere in the livelier letterpress writers for the annuals and travel books.
In the ongoing process of composition of the “Account”, MS IA, g.2 must have been a precursor not only to the fair copy in MS IX (in which the opening section incorporates the prose essay, “Calais”), but also to the draft of other poems and essays found in MS VIII. Yet the early occurrence of the two pairs of poems in MS IA, g.2 dramatizes how these works served as imaginative and compositional cruxes for Ruskin. The pairing of the poems, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, was formed around a contrast of gothic sublime and domestic beauty, respectively, that Ruskin carried forward to the MS IX fair copy (in which he elaborated the pairing with a third, middle section, “Ehrenbreitstein”, designed to bridge the contrasting modes using a geographical analogy of a confluence of two rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle). Ultimately, he refined the pairing for publication under the title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”. In the pairing of “Passing the Alps” and “Milan Cathedral”, Ruskin established another figure important to the development of the “Account”, that of crossing a divide between natural and supernatural phenomena. The figure of a crossing that is humanly transformative appears to have been suggested to him by Samuel Rogersʼs poem, “The Alps”, in Italy (see Drafting the Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS VII, VIII, XI]; and see also the contextual glosses attached to “Passing the Alps”).
The two pairs of poems presented imaginative cruxes also in the process of drafting and fair-copying. In the MS IX fair copy, the trio of composite‐genre sections, “Andernacht”, “Ehrenbreitstein”, and “St. Goar”, were the last texts that Ruskin completed, before abandoning the fair copy in the middle of the following section describing “Heidelberg”. Oppositely, in MS VIII, the corresponding prose essays, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, occur very near the onset of this draft for the “Account”, even though the labor of assembling and fair‐copying these particular sections lay far ahead in the process (given that, in the sequence of MS VIII draft, these prose essays are succeeded by other draft essays that would have to incorporated first into the fair copy before reaching these points on the lower Rhine). Immediately after composing the prose essays, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar” near the start of MS VIII dratft, Ruskin turned from the figure of contrasting aesthetic modes to develop the figure of crossing in drafts relating to the Alps—i.e., “There is a charmed peace, that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”], “Via Mala”, “Splugen”, “The Summit”, and “The Descent” (see, below, Drafting the Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS VII, VIII, XI], and Table 1; see also MS VIII: Contents, section b, list b.1).
The Composite‐Genre Illustrated Travelogue (MS IX)
In the MS IX fair copy, Ruskin fully assembled verse and prose text along with graphic illustration. Drawing on verse and prose draft in the two MS IA manuscripts and in MS VIII, Ruskin formed topographical units describing major destinations along the familyʼs tour. Each unit typically consists of a poem in the picturesque mode, followed by a prose piece in a comic or anecdotal mode. The writing is encased between vignette illustrations at the head and the tail of the unit, as in Rogersʼs Italy, and in some units additional illustrations divide blocks of text. The illustrations, which Ruskin drew on separate slips and pasted into place, mimic the appearance of engravings or lithographs. The work as a whole is untitled and undated in MS IX. For a physical description of the ledger that Ruskin adapted to his purpose, see MS IX.
Ruskinʼs selection of places for the completed travelogue from among all those that the family visited can be viewed in the Chronology and Map of the 1833 tour, which plots the route through all the places mentioned in the 1833 travel diary kept by Ruskinʼs cousin, Mary Richardson (1784–1848), and in the 1833–46 diary kept by John James Ruskin. See also the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, which Ruskin listed on the back endpapers of MS VIII as destinations he intended to describe in the travelogue, had he carried on with the work.
Ruskinʼs aim in the composite‐genre project clearly was to imitate the print culture of travel literature of his day. For the text, he used a cursive “copperplate” hand, justified left and right. For the page layout, he adopted the plan of the 1830 edition of Samuel Rogersʼs Italy, with a vignette‐style illustration placed at the top of the first page of each section, followed by the place‐name header (imitating even Rogersʼs choice of typeface and font), which serves to identify the sectionʼs verse, prose, and additional illustrations—all lacking titles of their own. In several instances, he drew illustrations in the manner of steel‐engravings, a new technology featured in Rogersʼs Italy (1830) and Poems (1834) as well as in the literary annuals. Specifically, he followed Rogers in heading sections with vignettes of landscape subjects, adapted directly or drawn after the manner of J. M. W. Turner, and in concluding sections with vignettes of figure subjects, drawn in the manner of Thomas Stothard. Ruskin also copied illustrations directly from Samuel Proutʼs lithographs for the Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany (1833), and in at least one instance he attempted to capture the watery appearance of lithography in contrast to the stipled pen strokes he used to imitate engraving. In some headpiece vignettes, Proutʼs influence competed with Turnerʼs, Ruskin choosing architectural subjects over landscapes, and drawing these with Proutʼs crumbly lines in contrast to the atmospheric effects of the Turneresque vignettes. Overall, in its graphic and “typographic” effects, the MS IX fair copy is much more varied and playful in its response to print culture than has usually been acknowledged. As both a work and an artifact, the fair copy represents an advance over the earlier manuscript instantiations of the “Account” by exploring ekphrasis and topographical description as principles both of expansion and interrelation. (See Discussion: Sources and Influences; Samuel Prout [1783–1852]; Samuel Rogers [1763–1855]; Thomas Stothard [1755–1834]; and Hanson, “Ruskin in the 1830s”).
As a direct result of this deliberate, curious, and playful course of self‐training in the print culture of his decade, the 1830s, Ruskin debuted as J.R., supported by some of the professionals whom he imitated in the “Account” (see Discussion: Mentors). It was likely owing to the distraction of this opportunity and not merely to his own neglect that Ruskin abandoned the fair‐copying, leaving the MS IX version incomplete. As physical evidence of this cause for Ruskinʼs ceasing fair‐copying, the MS VIII draft of the “Account” abruptly terminates where it runs up against draft for “Saltzburg”, one of the two poems that Ruskin prepared for publication in Friendshipʼs Offering. This evidence was misinterpreted and misdated by W. G. Collingwood, who thereby obscured the important causal link between the “Account” as Ruskinʼs self‐apprenticeship in the print culture of illustratred accounts of travel and topography and his debut as a writer in this genre.
While no evidence identifies precisely when Ruskin began the MS IX fair copy, the manuscript must postdate MS IA, g.1, and MS IA, g.2, since the fair copy incorporates his revisions to those manuscripts; and as argued in Date of Composition, he likely commenced fair‐copying not long before February 1834, when he started the stint of draft in MS VIII. the sequence of that draft gradually converging with the pace of the fair‐copying.
The interruption in the fair‐copying in MS IX accorded with the termination of the draft in MS VIII because, by that time, the two compositional processes were closely in sync. In MS IX, the text breaks off in mid‐sentence near the start of the prose essay on “Heidelberg”. In MS VIII, the draft of this prose piece occurs intermittently in the section mingling draft of the “Account” with droft of poems for John Jamesʼs 1834 birthday (i.e., MS VIII: Contents, b.2; see the drafts, “Cont. Heidelberg” [“Heidelberg” prose, part 1], and “All has yielded to it from time immemorial” [“Heidelberg” prose, part 2]). Just so, Ruskinʼs draft of the poem, “Heidelberg”, the last of the completed fair‐copied texts in MS IX, occurs intermittently toward the end of the section of of MS VIII that is devoted solely to draft of the “Account” (i.e., MS VIII: Contents, b.1, which precedes the section that mingles draft of the “Account” with poetry in the making for John Jamesʼs birthday; see the drafts, “Smiling from those bright rays kiss” [“Heidelberg” poem, part 1], and “Continuation Heidelberg” [“Heidelberg” poem, part 2]. In this same section of MS VIII, Contents, b.1, Ruskin was also composing the poem, “Ehrenbreitstein”, along with the poem, “Heidelberg”, indicating that at that point he was readying materials for fair‐copying the trio of sections that precede the “Heidelberg“ section—“Andernacht”, “Ehrenbreitstein”, and “St. Goar”.
In the current state of MS IX, several gaps separate blocks of text, indicating where Ruskin intended to paste illustrations. It is impossible now to determine which of these gaps were left blank because Ruskin never made a drawing to fill them, and which are empty because, as he commented in 1885 in Praeterita, “many [drawings] have since been taken out” (Ruskin, Works, 35:81). Drawings could also have been lost (or, for that matter, restored) between 1885 and 1903, when Cook and Wedderburn described the manuscript for the Library Edition.
Folowing the recto (48r) containing the incomplete fragment of the prose essay, “Heidelberg”, seven successive rectos (49r–55r) exhibit a gallery of eight drawings of mountain scenes, as described in Ruskin, Works, 2:364 n. 1. Since the blank versos facing each of these seven pages obviously would have been inadequate to contain verse and prose of the length filling the earlier, fully fair‐copied sections of the “Account”, Ruskin did not place these drawings with the intention of flowing text around them. Rather, someone at some time prior to 1903 decided that no more fair‐copying would be forthcoming, and that the remaining blank pages may as well be used in part to assemble this gallery. While the drawings may or may not have been originally intended for the “Account”, their dimensions are in keeping with other vignettes made for the work.
Drafting the Composite‐Genre Travelogue (MS VII, MS VIII, MS XI)
MS VIII is a notebook that Ruskin had used for rough copy of imaginative writing, largely poetry, since 1831, and that he would continue to use for drafting imaginative verse and prose through 1836, and possibly as late as 1838. The draft relevant to the “Account” (see MS VIII: Contents, section b) includes verse and prose intended for the composite‐genre version, which Ruskin must already have had underway in MS IX. The draft in MS VIII pertains mainly to the Rhine journey, the first sighting and crossing of the Alps, the tour in northern Italy, and the tour of Switzerland (see Table 1 for complete contents).
Since Ruskin did not entitle the draft in MS VIII (or anywhere else) as belonging to the “Account”, a starting point cannot be definitively ascertained. Following the ode for John Jamesʼs 1833 birthday, “My Fatherʼs Birthday: The Month of May”, there occurs the verse, “Oh are there spirits, can there be”, which contains no place names connecting the poem to the topographical content of the “Account”. However, the next piece in the notebookʼs sequence—a prose draft that Ruskin entitled here as “Source of the Arveron”—can be securely anchored in the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, which includes that title. In ERM, “Oh are there spirits” is treated as belonging to the “Account” project, on the grounds that its positioning in the MS VIII can be persuasively read as announcing a major theme of the following “Account” draft—Ruskinʼs spiritual associations with the Alps in general and with the Chamonix valley in particular, culminating in the invocation of spiritual beings in the poem, “Chamouni”, and the essay, “Chamouni”. Evidence internal to “Oh are there spirits” suggests intertextual connections with the invocation of mountain spirits by Byronʼs Manfred (see gloss attached to “Oh are there spirits, can there be”. Finally, as bibliographical evidence for the poemʼs relation to the “Account”, Ruskin included it in his system of Line Numbering for the project. However, no evidence situates the poem in a specific section of the “Account”, or suggests that Ruskin himself had a specific destination in mind when he drafted it.
It is logical that the draft sequence related to the “Account” commences following draft of the 10 May 1833 birthday ode for John James Ruskin, “My Fatherʼs Birthday: The Month of May”, since the family set off on the Tour of 1833 following that celebration. (According to the 1833 diary of Ruskinʼs cousin, Mary Richardson, they departed for Dover at “half past nine“ on May 14; see Map and Chronology.) The draft dedicated to the “Account” then remains unusually homogeneous, by the previous standard of this notebook, the draft becoming mixed with other works only after Ruskin has composed approximately twenty‐five items for the “Account”. At that point, the draft becomes intermingled with poems related to John Jamesʼs upcoming 10 May 1834 birthday (see MS VIII: Contents, Section b.2, and compare the preceding Section b.1).
W. G. Collingwood was certainly incorrect to suggest that “the prose and verse description of . . . [the 1833 tour] was begun” in this manuscript notebook (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:264; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:265). While the MS VIII sequence does represent the most extensive development of the composite‐genre version to survive in draft, Collingwood neglected to analyze how this manuscript must have been preceded by MS IA, g.1 and MS IA, g.2 in the genetic development of the work, even though he was familiar with these other manuscripts. In MS VIII, Ruskin did not, however, simply pick up where he had left off in composing verse and prose for the composite‐genre version, which he had conceptualized in MS IA, g.2 and begun compiling in the MS IX fair copy. By starting the draft with the “Source of the Arveron”, Ruskin was casting forward to a projected conclusion of the “Account”—a complement to beginning MS IA, g.2 with a prose essay, “Calais” about the onset of the tour. The “Source of the Arveron” essay describes an episode that occurred at the end of the Ruskinsʼ journey, their excursion to Chamonix.
In fact, the title, “Source of the Arveron”, may apply not only to the prose essay but also to the following untitled poem, “I woke to hear the lullaby” [“The Arve at Chamouni”], which, as Collingwoodʼs invented title correctly indicates, describes the Arve River flowing through the valley of Chamonix. In other words, Ruskin probably intended his title as a section heading. This increased complexity in composition is significant, not only as additional proof that Ruskin took up MS VIII at a stage when he had already conceived of the “Account” as a composite‐genre work, but also as an indication of the thematic coherence he imagined for the work, although he never completed the fair copy.
The hike to the glacier source of the Arveron River was a popular activity for tourists in Chamonix. In Ruskinʼs telling, the excursion suggests a quest for poetic origins: led by local children acting as guides, the walk to the “source” reveals a Hippocrene‐like, spiritual place of inspiration. In this notion of a spiritual poetic source, Ruskin drew together multiple ideas, including the trope of crossing mountains into a sacred bourne, a theme that he had already broached in “Passing the Alps”, based on Alpine sections of Italy by Samuel Rogers (1763–1855). Moreover, as explained in Discussion: Sources and Influences and Mentors, Ruskinʼs recent correspondence with the writer James Hogg (ca. 1770–1835), who had invited the youth to his farm in the Yarrow Valley of the Scottish Borders as an act of poetic mentoring, prompted in Ruskin a pastoral “reverie” about poetry and place. It is owing to this spiritualization of the journey at the start of the MS VIII draft that a case can be made for counting “Oh are there spirits, can there be”, with its suggestions of liminal spaces between nature and the supernatural, as part of the “Account”.
The convergence of these themes suggests a date of mid‐ to late‐February 1834 for the start of the MS VIII draft, since Ruskin replied to Hoggʼs invitation to Scotland on 13 February. Moreover, on his 8 February birthday, he received two books that influenced his Alpine descriptions—Illustrations of the Passes of the Alps (1828) by William Brockedon (1787–1854), and Voyages dans les Alpes (1779–96) by Horace‐Bénédict de Saussure (1740–99) (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 278, 280 n. 1). Immediately following draft of the composite prose essay and poem, “Source of the Arveron”, Ruskin drafted the prose essays, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, thus dovetailing the start of composition in MS VIII with MS IA, g.2, which contains the corresponding pair of Rhine journey poems as well as the pair of poems introducing the trope of mountain crossing, “Passing the Alps” and “Milan Cathedral”.
Ruskin carried on in MS VIII to develop the trope of mountain crossing in a cluster of poems describing the entry to Italy via the Splügen Pass, a cluster that, according to the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, was meant to be introduced in fair copy by the poem, “Passing the Alps”. This poem, which Ruskin had already composed in MS IA, g.2, may have been the first in the entire sequence of composing the “Account” to reflect Samuel Rogersʼs influence as a poet, as distinct from the influence of the print culture associated with the 1830 illustrated edition of Italy. Ruskin studied how Rogers situates his poem, “The Alps”, in Italy as a summary reflection on the experience of crossing the mountains (see the contextual glosses attached to the witnesses of “Passing the Alps”). He continues to develop this trope in the cluster of mountain poems near the start of MS VIII draft.
It appears from the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account” that Ruskin intended “Passing the Alps” to serve as a fulcrum between a cluster of pieces about the approach to the Alps from Schaffhausen, and a cluster about the crossing at Splügen. The latter cluster was to consist of pieces or composite sections entitled “The Via Mala”, “Splugen”, “The Summit”, and “The Descent”, all of which are represented by poems in the MS VIII draft (see Table 1). Rogers situates “The Alps” as a retrospective reflection on the experience of crossing, rather than a prospective one as Ruskin planned, but it is clear that the younger poet modeled his sequence on Rogersʼs approach to the mountains. (In Italy, the approach plays out topographically coming from the west, in the poems “The Great St. Bernard” and “The Descent”, rather than coming from the north as the Ruskins did.) Ruskinʼs poems lack the pedantic historical references with which Rogers labors his verse; instead, the youth (who was in any case inadequately learned to make such allusions) allowed the verse to unfold by tracing the landscape itself, coupling the description, if with anything, with a reverential topic, such as the sabbath setting of “There is a charmed peace, that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”].
Along with drafting these pieces in MS VIII that open up large‐scale conceptions of form and theme, Ruskin carried on with additional draft of prose sections to match with poems already composed about places in , Belgium, and Germany. After the drafts of the prose essays, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, the next prose sections to appear are those for “The Meuse”, “Cologne”, “Brussels” (“Part of Brussels” [part 1] and “Part of Brussels” [part 2]), and “Aix la Chapelle”, suggesting that, by this point of composition in MS VIII, Ruskin had fair‐copied in MS IX the entire composite sections of verse, prose, and drawings for “Calais”, “Cassel”, and “Lille”. (Draft versions of the prose essays for “Cassel” and “Lille” are not extant.)
The probable mid‐ to late‐February 1834 date for Ruskinʼs commencement of the “Account” draft in MS VIII accords well with a trajectory of this writing toward a terminus ad quem among draft of poetry preparing for his fatherʼs 10 May 1834 birthday. As the sequence of “Account” draft proceeds from poems about mountain crossings to poems about Italy, the ongoing intermixing of draft relating to points in northern Europe suggests that Ruskinʼs drafting was gradually converging with his fair‐copying in MS IX. Growing prominent toward the end of the main stint of draft for the “Account” (MS VIII: Contents, section b, list b.1) and throughout the stint of draft mixed with birthday writing (MS VIII: Contents, section b, list b.2) are draft pieces related to the break‐off point of the fair copy in MS IX“Heidelberg”, and “Ehrenbreitstein” (the section that, in MS IX, bridges “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”).
At some points in the text, one may be able to observe Ruskin pivoting between draft and fair copy. On page 62r of MS VIII, three‐quarters of the way down the page, Ruskin started the prose essay, “Brussels”, entitling it “Part of Brussels” [part 1]. This draft extends halfway through 62v, where it stops in mid‐sentence, with the word “circumnavigating” substituted for traversing. At this point, Ruskin stopped to compose a poem, “Oh softly blew the mounting breeze” [“Chiavenna”]; and then, at the top of the next recto, 63r, he completed the prose essay, “Part of Brussels” [part 2], which he took up in mid‐sentence, with the phrase “perambulating . . . tread on it softly”. In the fair copy of this prose passage, a line of text ends with the break‐point in the draft of “Part of Brussels” [part 1], “circumnavigating for”—with the “for” jammed against the justified right margin. The next line resumes as in “Part of Brussels” [part 2]: “perambulating.—Oh woe to the weather”. One might infer, then, that Ruskin fair‐copied “Part of Brussels” [part 1] in MS IX as far as he had drafted the prose in MS VIII (62v); crossed out the last word in MS VIII draft on 62v (“traversing”), since he could not fit that word on the line in the fair copy (hence, the tightly fitted, almost run‐together “circumnavigating, for”); then perhaps stopped fair‐copying the prose in MS IX, in order to compose the poem that falls next in draft; and finally resumed drafting prose with “Part of Brussels” [part 2], only changing his mind about the next word (making it “perambulating” rather than “traversing”).
Perhaps close to the time when composing and fair‐copying converged, Ruskin broke off to plan a continuation of the work (never resumed) in the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, which fills the back endpapers of MS VIII. At the start of this list, he took up points along the lower Rhine, which perhaps he had recently drafted, or was in process of drafting. “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, which head the list, were nothing new, but they are separated by “Ehrenbreitstein”, which Ruskin apparently belatedly conceived to act as a bridge between the complementary sections. Then, after deleting Frankfurt, Ruskin listed “Heidelberg”, and “Schaffhausen, both of which emerge comparatively late in the MS VIII draft.
Several other places in the list correspond to separate verse and prose pieces drafted in MS VIII—pieces describing the Alpine border between Germany and Italy, and places in Italy and Switzerland. Also, some illustrations proposed in the list may correspond to drawings that form the brief gallery of Alpine scenes that were pasted onto otherwise blank pages at the end of the MS IX fair copy. One can only speculate that some draft writing and/or drawings mentioned in this proposed extension may have been lost, but it seems likely that much of the ambitious plan was never executed beyond what is found in MS VIII. The projectʼs state of incompletion is less important, however, than what drew Ruskinʼs attention away from it. As both contextual and physical evidence demonstrate, Ruskin did not so much abandon the “Account” as put the work on hold, while he segued its achievement into preparing topographical and ekphrastic verse commissioned for the engraved gift annual, Friendshipʼs Offering.
MS VIII also contains some rough pen‐and‐ink sketches, which do not appear to correspond to any extant drawings in the MS IX fair copy, but which at least confirm that the graphic element of the composite‐genre version was by then well established in Ruskinʼs working procedure.
Of the fugitive pieces of writing originally intended for the “Account”, and contained in MS VII and MS XI, nothing can be inferred in terms of their draft stage, since the original witnesses are not extant. The texts are unique and fair‐copied in an unidentified hand (see The Ruskin Family Handwriting: Unidentified Hands—MS VII, XI Fair Copy of the “Account”). That the hand is probably not Ruskinʼs, and that the fair copies were made without his involvement, can be inferred from some bizarre instances of diction and punctuation that seem most logically explained as errors in transcription (see textual glosses for the poems “The Rhine” and “Chamouni”, and for the prose essay “Chamouni”). The fair copies were probably made long after Ruskin drafted the original texts, and after he had abandoned the “Account” as a project, since the copies are included in a group of texts—all transcribed in the same unidentified hand, which worked from the opposite end of the original use of MS VII—which include items originally dating from 1836. The purpose of transcribing these disparate texts together and at the same time is unknown, but the copyist signified his or her awareness of the textsʼ respective provenances by adding the dateline “1833” at the bottom of two poems originating with the Tour of 1833

“The Rhine” and “Chamouni”. The dateline added to the prose essay, “Chamouni”—“J.R. / fragment from a Journal / 1833“—is not in the hand of the unidentified copyist, but in the hand of John James Ruskin. The identification suggests the collective title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, given to the extracts from the “Account” published in late 1834 in Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV, but also the title given by John James to the extract that he edited and published in Poems (1850).
Line Numbering in the Draft (MS IA, MS VIII)
Additional information that possibly can be used to draw inferences about Ruskinʼs composition of the “Account” is available in his line numbering, which runs throughout verse portions of the work in MS IA, g.1, MS IA, g.2, and the MS VIII draft sequence. (The line numbering is listed, poem by poem, in Table 1.) In none of these manuscripts does the numbering give the appearance of having been added at a time later than composition. Overall, the numbering system appears mechanical, reinforcing the suggestion of Ruskinʼs regular, uncrowded pace of composition in the manuscripts, despite the sometimes helter‐skelter of leaping around the map in the topographical sequence of subjects in draft for the “Account”.
Overall, a chronological order of composition is indicated by the sequential line numbering from manuscript to manuscript, despite unexplained gaps in the numbering, which supports the textual history proposed here for the evolution of the “Account” project. The numbering advances sequentially from 1–173 in MS IA, g.1, to 360–429 in MS IA, g.2, to 506–1484 in MS VIII. In the two sheets comprising MS IA, g.1, the lines of the five poems are numbered continuously, 1–173, without breaks between the separate poems. In MS IA, g.2, the line numbering begins following the prose essay, “Calais”, starting with the first line of “Passing the Alps” as line 360, and running continuously from poem to poem, to line 429. Since the poems in this manuscript, unlike those in MS IA, g.1, could never have been conceived as sequentially ordered in a topographical sense for fair copy, this instance shows that Ruskin did not employ the system in the course of composition to keep track of a topographical ordering of sections. Nonetheless, the numbering may have been useful to him when transferring draft to fair copy in MS IX.
In the MS VIII draft sequence, the line numbering takes up with line 506, applied to “Oh are there spirits, can there be”; and the numbering carries relentlessly and mechanically forward through the verse draft in MS VIII: Contents, Section b, albeit with occasional gaps or overlapping numbering. Where poetry encounters prose on the page, the line numbering halts, and then resumes sequentially following the interruption. As in MS IA, g.2, the line numbering in MS VIII bears no relation to the topographical sequence, which is jumbled, with poems drafted in no particular geographical order (except for the occasional topographical cluster), and with some poems such as “Heidelberg” and “Genoa” divided into parts separated by several pages with no effect on the numbering sequence. Thus, in MS VIII as well, Ruskinʼs numbering the lines of poetry seems mechanical. Doubtless, he needed a line count in order to estimate the space needed to fair‐copy lines; however, the system would not have helped him estimate space for prose, and the presence of the numbering in MS IA, g.1 suggests that he initiated the numbering scheme before he even conceived the composite‐genre version represented by the fair copy.
Nonetheless, the line numbering can be used to corroborate other evidence in drawing conclusions about the “Account”. For example, the onset of the numbering in MS VIII with line 506 seems strong evidence for treating the poem “Oh are there spirits, can there be” as a part of the work, especially since this evidence supports the thematic relevance of the poem. At the opposite end of the “Account” draft in MS VIII, the continuous line numbering ends at line 1484, the final line of the poem “Villa Pliniana”; and on the following recto, Ruskin started line numbering anew with line 1 for the start of “Saltzburg”. The latter poem, as argued in Publication: Friendshipʼs Offering (November 1834), marks his departure from the “Account” per se, to prepare for publication in Friendshipʼs Offering.
The line numbering does not, however, supply foolproof evidence that poems comprised within the MS VIII sequence belong to the “Account”. In MS VIII: Contents, b.2, while Ruskin wrapped his line numbering system for the “Account” around verse clearly meant for another purpose, such as “The Address” for John Jamesʼs birthday, which he left unnumbered, he did carry the numbering through “The Crystal Hunter”. This poem is simultaneously numbered starting with line 1, using the column on the opposite side of the page from the “Account” numbering, suggesting either that the poem bears a tangential relation to the “Account”, or that the line numbering system served an additional purpose to counting lines for the “Account”, or that Ruskin sometimes numbered the ruled lines on the page ahead of composing and was merely careless about using those pre‐numbered lines for other kinds of poetry.
Irregularities occur within the numbering, some of which are probably mere mistakes. It is possible, however, that some irregularities can be used as evidence in unraveling a more complex compositional history than what usually appears to have been a straightforwardly linear production of text. These cases are discussed in the textual glosses appended to individual texts .
List of Proposed Additional Contents for the Account of a Tour on the Continent
On the back endpapers of MS VIII, the List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account” starts with “Andernacht”, “Ehrenbreitstein”, and “St. Goar” as items numbered 1–3. Thus, Ruskin must have intended the table as a plan for the workʼs continuation, and not as an overview from start to finish. As such, we can conceive of him compiling this list either at the point when he began drafting (and perhaps simultaneously fair‐copying) those three sections, the last to be completed in MS IX, or at some point when he had already completed their fair‐copying. The list is extremely ambitious, extending to approximately 73 additional parts!
There seems no way to tell whether Ruskin compiled the list all at once or developed it over time. However, one deletion—number 4, a proposed entry for “Frankfurt”—he must have reconsidered while the MS VIII draft and MS IX fair copy were in process, since the fair copy proceeds from “St. Goar” to “Heidelberg”, number 5 in the List of Proposed Additional Contents, and no draft on the topic of Frankfurt survives in MS VIII—at least that is recognizable as such. (Frankfurt was a major destination for the family, on June 1–3, between St. Goar and castle ruins along the Rhine on May 30 and the woodland ride to Heidelberg on June 4; see Map and Chronology, and Diary of Mary Richardson, 1833, 24–31.)
There also seems no way to tell whether the places listed refer to projected individual poems or prose essays or to elaborated composite‐genre and illustrated sections. At the time Ruskin compiled the list, some of the places listed likely were already represented by individual poems in the MS VIII and MS IA, g.2 draft—most notably numbers 14–17, which correspond to the poems, “Passing the Alps”, “The Via Mala”, “Splugen”, “The Summit”, and “The Descent” (see Drafting the Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS VII, VIII, XI]). The ticks in the margin next to these five items in the list doubtless bear some significance; and while we cannot ascertain who was responsible for these marks or precisely what they signified, we can conjecture that Ruskin made the marks with the intention to highlight the boundaries of a section, with perhaps “Passing the Alps” serving as the section head. While this meager authority might justify collecting these five poems as a conjectural corpus, we would be left with the problem that the fair copy supplies no precedent for an all‐verse section (although it does include an all‐prose section, “Aix la Chapelle”); and we would need to imagine Ruskin composing some prose for the section, not to mention illustrating it with “engravings,” had he carried on with the project.
In the list of illustrations that forms the right‐hand column, the title of William Brockedonʼs Illustrations of the Passes of the Alps figures prominently. This book was not available to Ruskin prior to his fifteenth birthday, 22 February 1834 (see Draft: MS VIII). Other proposed drawings are keyed to illustrations in Samuel Proutʼs Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany and to Samuel Rogersʼs Italy, as well to drawings of “my own”.
The evolution of the “Account” project culminated in edited publications of November 1834, 1850, 1891, and 1903. In none of these did the editors make clear the authority for their texts. Overall, however, the successive published versions may be said steadily to have approached realization of Ruskinʼs intentions for his final version, had he completed such a version himself. That version—the composite‐genre “Account”, as incompletely fair‐copied in MS IX, and as planned for extension and incompletely drafted in MS VIII—was not accurately represented, and arguably was misrepresented, by the 1834, 1850, and 1891 published texs. Only the 1903 edition conveyed an idea of the composite‐genre version as Ruskin conceived it, but the edition is incompletely realized, and for many of its choices it relies uncritically on the 1891 edition.
Friendshipʼs Offering (November 1834)
Sometime after February 1834, Ruskin, or perhaps his father, or the editor Thomas Pringle (1789–1834), drew on existing texts of the “Account” and selected the poems, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, to be revised and published under the collective title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, in Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV (pp. 317–19). The poem is signed “J.R.”, the first appearance of this persona, which was destined to appear frequently in the annuals during the second half of the 1830s and first half of the 1840s.
The poemʼs title asks the reader to imagine a whole, a “metrical journal,” which, if it ever existed, hearkened back to the version of the “Account” represented by MS IA, g.1. That version had by this time been superseded, since the earliest extant texts of the poems, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, were already coupled with a prose essay (“Calais”) in the MS IA, g.2 manuscript, indicating that the composite‐genre version was underway—the poems shortly to be complemented with drafts of prose essays, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, in MS VIII. For whatever reason, it was decided that the title, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, would pose a fiction.
The composite nature of the final version of the “Account” is suggested by another poem by J. R. in the same volume of Friendshipʼs Offering, but the connection with the “Account” would have been apparent only to the few who knew how to look for it. Ruskinʼs other poem in the volume, “Saltzburg” (pp. 37–38), is ekphrastic as well as topographical, but the poem carries no reference to a larger, encompassing project; and indeed “Saltzburg” formed no part of the “Account”, since the Ruskins did not visit that city in 1833. Rather, Ruskin drew on his self‐instruction in the materiality of illustrated travel publications for the “Account” in order to compose a poem based on an engraving entitled “Saltzburg”, printed facing the first page of Ruskinʼs poem. The poem, as well as the picture by the artist, William Purser (ca. 1790–1852), presumably were commissioned by the editor, Thomas Pringle, for publication along with the “Fragments” in Friendshipʼs Offering.
W. G. Collingwood misdated the publication of “Saltzburg” as a year later, in December 1835, following the Ruskin familyʼs first visit to the city of Salzburg, which occurred during their Continental Tour of 1835 (see Date of Publication). Collingwood assumed that Ruskin could not have written about a place he had never seen, but J. R. was not yet Kata Phusin, devoted to nature. In his own drawings for the “Account”, Ruskin was as absorbed by the technology of graphic reproduction as by its landscape subjects. Collingwood was probably confused by the imprint date of Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV, forgetting what consumers knew earlier in the century, during the heyday of the annuals, that a volume “for” 1835 would have been published in October or November 1834, in time for the holiday season of Christmas and New Yearʼs, 1834–35.
Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath, as the annual was called at this time, was published by Smith, Elder, and the volume “for MDCCCXXXV” was the last to be edited by Pringle, who died at the end of 1834, having edited the series since the volume for 1828. Pringle and the firmʼs proprietors, George Smith (1789–1846) and Alexander Elder (1790–1876), were Scots, like the Ruskins, and known to them personally. While some correspondence by Pringle exists to attest to his personal acquaintance with the Ruskins (Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 188), I am aware of no correspondence by the editor or by the Ruskin family that comments on Johnʼs writing for this volume of Friendshipʼs Offering. (Extant correspondence with Pringleʼs successor, the editor W. H. Harrison (ca. 1792–1878), starts in 1837 and refers to Ruskinʼs poetry published in the volume for 1838.) The completed texts of Ruskinʼs two poems for the 1835 volume must have been completed no later than 1 August 1834, when Pringleʼs compilation for the volume was due to the printer in time for publication in November 1834 (see Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 244).
A draft of “Saltzburg” is extant in MS VIII, terminating the section, MS VIII: Contents, b.2, in which draft of the “Account” combines with draft of poetry for John Jamesʼs 10 May 1834 birthday (see Line Numbering in the Draft [MS IA, MS VIII]). Collingwood interpreted this draft as placed here in the notebook, MS VIII, because Ruskin had “abandoned” the “1833 ‘Tour’” and “followed [it] on p. 106 by some poems descriptive of a new Tour—that of 1835” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:264–65; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:266). He was correct in his interpretation of the physical evidence except in assuming that a year lapsed between the “1833 ‘Tour’” poem and “Saltzburg”, which was in fact a direct outcome of the “Account” project, although not a part of the tour poem itself. No known draft reflects the revision of poetry in the “Account” to construct “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”. To form the two “fragments”, the texts of “Andernacht” and “St. Goar” were considerably revised from their original forms in MS IA, g.2 and MS IX.
To work out a timeline for revision of “Fragments” and composition of “Saltzburg”, one can perhaps assume that no definite arrangements for either poem had been made with Pringle by 22 January 1834, when John James wrote to James Hogg for advice about cultivating Johnʼs poetic talents. In this letter, in which John James mentions as an epitome of the boyʼs precocious abilities that he has “sketched in verse or prose, or picture,” “every scene” of the familyʼs tour of “four months in Switzerland and Italy”, the proud father at least pretends to misgivings about exposing their prodigy to the public. In the timing of this appeal, John James was renewing contact with Hogg following a lengthy hiatus in the familyʼs slight acquaintance with the famed Scottish writer, so the abrupt resumption indicates that John James and Margaret were weighing the merits of publication with greater seriousness than they evidently regarded their sonʼs actual first appearance in print as a poet, with “On Skiddaw and Derwent Water”, which is never mentioned in surviving family correspondence. One might therefore speculate that contact with Hogg was being urged by Pringle, who was a longtime friend of the writer—or conversely, that Hogg, on receipt of John Jamesʼs letter, nudged Pringle and the publisher, Alexander Elder (mentioned in John Jamesʼs letter, by way of introduction), to consider Ruskin as a contributor to Friendshipʼs Offering, a publication that had benefited by Hoggʼs own contributions (Garden, ed., Memorials of James Hogg, 273–75; see also James Hogg [1770–1835], and Discussion).
One can only speculate, further, whether publication in Friendshipʼs Offering might have been sponsored by Pringleʼs introduction of Ruskin to Samuel Rogers—a prodigious event, concerning which no contemporary evidence is known. It seems likelier that Ruskin would have paid his respects to the great man only after he had been published as “J.R.”, but by that time, so late in 1834, Pringle was in poor health and nearing his death, which occurred on 5 December 1834 (Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 247; and see Thomas Pringle [1789–1834]; Samuel Rogers [1763–1855]; and Discussion).
In the family correspondence for this period, the only mention of a publication occurs in a 10 March 1834 verse epistle by Ruskin to his father, “But this day week”, which excitedly anticipates, not the Friendshipʼs Offering commissions, but observations on natural history to be forwarded to the editor, John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843), to be considered for publication in the Magazine of Natural History (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 285). It seems surprising that Ruskin would have failed to add a couplet or two celebrating his submissions to another editor, Thomas Pringle, if an understanding had been reached.
This evidence of temporizing earlier in the year conforms with the position of the “Saltzburg” in MS VIII following the draft of the “Account” that is combined with draft of poetry for John Jamesʼs 10 May 1834 birthday (MS VIII: Contents, b.2)—draft that presumably dates from about April or early May 1834. One cannot assume that the revision of “Fragments” preceded the composition of “Saltzburg”, for, although it may seem logical that revision of existing text would have predated invention of new, one can imagine as an equally likely scenario that Pringle offered Ruskin the “Saltzburg” commission first, on the strength of his clever imitation of illustrated travel literature in MS IX. That the two commissions came close together is suggested, moreover, by the probable timing of Ruskinʼs fair‐copying of the “Andernacht” and “St. Goar” sections in MS IX. Since the fair‐copy texts of the poems for these sections remain largely unchanged from their first instantiation in MS IA, g.2, presumably their revision for “Fragments” had not yet been undertaken. This fair‐copying, as proposed in The Composite‐Genre Illustrated Travelogue (MS IX), cannot have occurred earlier than the drafting of “Ehrenbreitstein”, the section that, in MS IX, bridges the “Andernacht” and “St. Goar” sections—again, setting a terminus a quo for the Friendshipʼs Offering commissions little earlier than April or May 1834. Ruskin could have set to work as late as June and still have met Pringleʼs deadline of 1 August 1834 for delivering the completed volume of Friendshipʼs Offering to the printer.
Poems, by J. R. (1850)
In 1850, another verse selection from the “Account” was privately published as “Ehrenbreitstein: Fragment from a Metrical Journal” (Ætat 16) in the “collected” edition of Ruskinʼs poetry, Poems by J.R. (pp. 8–12). John James Ruskin and Ruskinʼs editor, W. H. Harrison, selected this poem from among the extensive verse for the “Account” that, at that time, remained unpublished.
The editorsʼ title consciously references “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, published sixteen years earlier, and it is the only poem from the “Account” project to be included in the 1850 collection. Surprisingly, the editors did not include “Fragments” itself, which is, as it were, represented by “Ehrenbreitstein: Fragment from a Metrical Journal”. Nor did the editors include “Saltzburg” from Ruskinʼs debut volume of the annual, Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV.
To understand the editorsʼ choice of “Ehrenbreitstein”, the reader requires inside knowledge, which could be expected only of the audience for a privately published volume like the 1850 Poems, distributed solely to family and personal friends. In the MS IX fair copy of the “Account”, which in 1850 could be viewed only as the familyʼs personal possession, the section “Ehrenbreitstein” works as a bridge between the gothic mode in the section, “Andernacht”, and the domestic mode in the section, “St. Goar”. The bridge is formed within the poem by linking landscapes in these contrasted modes, using the figure of confluence, as represented by the meeting of the rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle, at Koblenz, overlooked by the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein (see Hanson, “Ruskin in the 1830s”). Only readers originally presented with copies of the 1850 Poems, and perhaps only a very few of those readers, could have understood that the poem, “Ehrenbreitstein”, formed part of an intricately interconnected trio of sections in MS IX, and that this link was broken when the poem was omitted as a component of the revised “Fragments”—a work that is itself absent from the volume.
Readers privileged to know all this would also have recognized that the status of “Ehrenbreitstein” as a “Fragment from a Metrical Journal” was a fiction, as was the claim of the originally published “Fragments”, since Ruskin had developed the “Account” beyond exclusively verse.
Poems, ed. Collingwood (1891)
In 1891 and 1903, respectively, there appeared two editions of the “Account” that attempted to represent the work in a reasonably complete state, the former prepared by W. G. Collingwood (1854–1932) for the Poems (1891), and the latter by E. T. Cook (ca. 1857–1919) and Alexander Wedderburn (ca. 1854–1931) for the second volume, Poems (1903), of the Library Edition (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:119–63, 281–83; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:119–63, 282–85; Ruskin, Works, 2:340–87). Collingwood was of course aware that, in Praeterita, Ruskin had declared the work an “unfinished folly” (Ruskin, Works, 35:81). Publishing the “Account” therefore violated the “instructions”, which Collingwood acknowledged in the “Editorʼs Introduction”, that he “omit such poems and passages as were . . . incomplete or inadequately representative of the authorʼs attainments and style at the time”. But Collingwood claimed to have made a paliative discovery about the scope of writing that was never fair‐copied: “I am pretty certain that . . . [Ruskin] was not aware of the amount of material existing in rough copies at the back of his book‐shelves”; (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:xxv, 266; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:xii, 267).
Yet, even if Collingwood justified publishing the work as a reconstruction based on forgotten draft, his version not only remained incomplete but misrepresented the work by limiting the selections to verse extracts, excluding the prose and illustrations. An all‐verse “Account” was in keeping with his decision to divide publication of the early works between separate anthologies of poetry and prose, but that decision itself uncritically sustained a privileged status awarded to poetry in Ruskinʼs literary development—a status that is manifest in the fiction that the “Fragments” published in Friendshipʼs Offering; and Winterʼs Wreath . . . for MDCCCXXXV originated in a “Metrical Journal”. We simply do not know who was responsible for that title. We do know that Ruskinʼs father was responsible for the 1850 Poems, an item that became intensely coveted by collectors in the final quarter of the century, creating a market for the 1891 edition. (See 1850 Poems; 1891 Poems; and Collecting of Modern Authors in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries.)
Collingwood was not misled about the composite‐genre nature of the “Account”. In his “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS of the Poems”, he describes the portion of MS IX containing the “Account” as devoted mainly to “prose and verse in a good ‘copperplate’ hand, and with inserted drawings illustrating his tour of the year before”; and in revealing the existence of additional draft material in MS VIII, he refers to the “prose and verse description of the tour”, including the “list at the end” of the notebook, which showed that Ruskin “had intended this volume [the fair copy in MS IX] to contain about 150 pieces of prose and poetry, and at least as many drawings!” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:265, 264, 266; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:266–67, 265, 267). In nonetheless excluding prose, without comment, from his reconstruction of the “Account”, Collingwood was influenced not only by the unexamined biographical myths that resulted in the market conditions favoring his edition; he also passed along Ruskinʼs own habit in later life of referring to the “Account” as his “rhymed history of the tour”. In Praeteritaʼs tale about the workʼs genesis, which Collingwood quotes both as an epigraph at the head his reconstruction, and as an explanation of the origin of the work in the “Preliminary Note”, Ruskin characterizes the work as a “poetical account of our tour, in imitation of Rogersʼs Italy” (Ruskin, Works, 35:81; Poems [4o, 1891], 1:119, 265; and Poems [8o, 1891], 1:119, 267).
Whether Collingwood planned to include the prose sections of the “Account” in the volume of prose that he projected as a companion to Poems is unknown. Perhaps he would have excerpted selections in an introduction, following his manner of confining the earliest juvenile verse to the “Editorʼs Introduction” in the edition of the poems. For one suspects that Collingwood would have attached little importance to these prose pieces, in which Ruskin imitates the style of letterpress writers for the illustrated travel literature of his youth, sometimes adopting the wryly ironic, tendentious tone favored by the livelier of these writers, other times mocking the false pedantry of jobbing writers who worked up their subject with no experience of the places they described. While Collingwood did not suppress writing that opened up the youthʼs sense of fun, he felt obliged to present Ruskinʼs “juvenile productions” as consistent with the mature authorʼs mission to elevate “the public taste in poetry as well as art”; and it was in “these poems”, according to the editor, that, “although [Ruskin] thrust them aside for prose”, the youth “could better put the complicated feelings, thoughts, and facts which he had to tell”. The poems, therefore, constituted “the best introduction to his later and greater books” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:xx–xxi; and Poems [8o, 1891], 1:vi–vii).
Another misrepresentation lay in Collingwoodʼs omission of Ruskinʼs illustrations to the “Account”; and while this omission might be ascribed to limits on the cost of reproduction—the plates that reproduce Ruskinʼs drawings were confined to enhancing the deluxe collectorʼs edition of Poems, while only a few figures that facsimiled his fair‐copy printing were retained for the common edition—Collingwood passed over Ruskinʼs illustrations drawn specifically for the “Account” in MS IX. His purpose, according to the “Prefatory Notes on the Plates” (printed in the deluxe edition only), was “to show Mr. Ruskinʼs hand at different periods, in different materials, and in different styles”—an ambition that had recently come within reach with the perfection of photogravure in the 1880s, which could “render the very marks of the pencil and strokes of the pen”. Thus, to accompany the “Account”, Collingwood selected “Watch‐tower at Andernach” (1833) “as an example of the careful, though untaught, work of a boy of fourteen”; the plate reproduces “in actual size part of a larger drawing in pen on warm grey paper done in the manner which the young artist evolved for himself out of copying Cruikshank”. As a second accompaniment, “The Jungfrau from Interlachen” (1833) represented “one of [Ruskinʼs] attempts to imitate the Rogers vignettes”, an attempt deemed ”artificially composed—not without skill, though with less regard than he afterwards paid to truth of mountain‐drawing”. Besides contributing to the larger goal of documenting Ruskinʼs developing drawing style, however, these plates reveal another intention, less prominently stated but significant for Collingwoodʼs approach to editing the “Account”. The editor says that, to illustrate “the ‘Tours’ of 1833 and 1835”, he chose “drawings made at the time and for the purpose”, but it is evident that the “purpose” meant, for Collingwood, attentiveness to scenic experiences of touring, and not Ruskinʼs interest in the technology of printed images. That is, Collingwood was engaged by the “Account” less as a work in itself than as biographical record of family travel (Poems [4o, 1891], vi–vii, and see 1:128 opp., 140 opp.; on photogravure, see Benson, The Printed Picture, 230).
Had Collingwood been alert to Ruskinʼs purposes in MS IX, he would have more representatively selected one of the manuscriptʼs several direct copies from Proutʼs Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany, and a vignette in the manner of Stothardʼs figure subjects for Rogers, just as he selected “The Jungfrau from Interlachen” to illustrate what Ruskin wrote about the “Account” in Praeterita—that he drew “vignettes for the decoration of the . . . poetical account of our tour, in imitation of Rogersʼs Italy” (Ruskin, Works, 35:81). (The latter choice of vignette is representative of MS IX only indirectly, in that Ruskin probably intended it for the manuscript, but never used it: Cook and Wedderburn do not record it as part of the manuscript in their time. In List of Proposed Additional Contents for the “Account”, he listed “Jungfrau”in what appears to be a column of illustrations, and next to it he wrote “My own”—meaning his own drawing, as opposed to reproducing another artistʼs published depiction.)
For copytext of the poems making up his version, Collingwoodʼs first choice was to use texts as published in Ruskinʼs lifetime, a condition that in the case of the “Account” applies to three poems: “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, revised for and published together as “Fragments from a Metrical Journal” in 1834; and “Ehrenbreitstein”, slightly revised and published as “Ehrenbreitstein: Fragment from a Metrical Journal” in 1850. Otherwise, where available, Collingwood used texts of poems as fair‐copied by Ruskin in MS IX; and in cases where only draft survives, he drew the texts from MS IA, g.2, and MS VIII. For all manuscript texts, fair‐copy and draft, Collingwood regularized punctuation and spelling, and he did not scruple to mend lines as he saw fit. (Details are given in the textual glosses attached to transcriptions.) For “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”, he additionally supplied the MS IX versions in notes.
Despite this pattern of giving authority to the latest revised and published or fair‐copied texts, Collingwood acted inconsistently in bestowing authority on an “original”, as he called it, if it took his fancy. In the case of the poem, “Calais”, Collingwood took main copytext from MS IA, g.1, in John Jamesʼs hand, which is the earliest version of this poem; and he even preferred a line as originally composed in that hand (line 5), although deleted in the manuscript and revised in Johnʼs hand—a revision that John carried to his fair copy in MS IX. And yet Collingwood scuttled John Jamesʼs authority in line 2 of this “original” version, which the editor pronounced “neither rhyme nor reason” and substituted a line of his own invention, deciding on no further evidence that John Jamesʼs line “must be a mis‐transcription of an insufficiently altered rough copy, now lost“ (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:280–81; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:282).
In this instance, Collingwood avows his responsibility—“the very few emendations I have presumed to make are marked by square brackets”—and while he tended to be much more casual than a twenty‐first‐century editor would be about what emendations needed flagging, we probably can safely assume that these aesthetic “emendations” were his, and not specifically authorized by the elderly Ruskin. In his notes and prefaces to the edition, Collingwood always refers to the authorʼs investment in the edition in the past tense, as having authorized the editorʼs judgments but resigned his own responsibility, consistent with Collingwoodʼs general statement that closes his “Prefatory Notes on the Plates”: “this publication is in no sense my own enterprise, . . . it had been long contemplated by Mr. Ruskin, and . . . it was put into my hands in default of better, with instructions which I have endeavoured to carry out faithfully. But as the selection and arrangement have been left entirely to me, it is only just to the author that I should avow the responsibility” (Poems [4o, 1891], 1:281, xi; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:282).
Regarding the “Account” in particular, it seems especially unlikely that Ruskin would have contributed directly to Collingwoodʼs editing, given the authorʼs disparaging remarks about the project in chapter 4 (1885) of Praeterita. Mythologizing the work primarily in terms of its association with his first exposure to Turner—“I had no sooner cast eyes on the Rogers vignettes than I took them for my only masters, and set myself to imitate them as far as I possibly could by fine pen shading”—Ruskin had forgotten or underplayed the significance of the “Account” in his artistic and professional development (Ruskin, Works, 35:79). In 1882, before he even started writing the autobiography, Ruskinʼs stake in editing the poems had been prompted by the American publisher, John Wiley & Sons, stealing a march on reprinting the poems first published in the annuals, causing him to raise the alarm to Alexander Wedderburn (7 February 1882 or 1883, in Ruskin, Letters to Alexander D. O. Wedderburn; see also History of Bibliography and Editing of the Early Manuscripts). It is interesting to speculate how that perceived theft might have helped to sponsor the idea of writing an autobiography, but once he had told his story in that book and in his own way about his creation of the “Account” and his subsequent publication in Friendshipʼs Offering—benchmarks that he fails to connect causally in PraeteritaRuskin seems to have been content to turn over the labor of editing to his assistant.
Works, ed. Cook and Wedderburn (1903)
The 1903 version of the “Account”, the first published version to convey the composite genre of the MS IX fair copy, was edited by E. T. Cook and Alexander Wedderburn for the second volume (1903) of the Library Edition (Ruskin, Works, 2:340–87). The editors adopted the verse framework of Collingwoodʼs version as a base text, but reunited the poems with their corresponding prose essays to form the composite sections with place‐name titles that Ruskin intended in his final version. Cook and Wedderburn also supplemented Collingwoodʼs framework by adding one prose essay, “Aix la Chapelle”, from the MS IX fair copy, which has no corresponding poem in draft or fair copy, and which was therefore ignored by the previous editor; two poems, “The Descent” and “Villa Pliniana”, from the MS VIII draft, which the previous editor either neglected or rejected; and an essay, “Chamouni”, from MS XI, which, as a prose piece, Collingwood would not have published even if he was aware of it. (The piece is not mentioned in Collingwoodʼs sketchy description of MS XI in “Preliminary Note on the Original MSS of the Poems”, nor is it mentioned even in Cook and Wedderburnʼs expanded description of the manuscript, which had been bound by their time, although they do ascribe the essay to MS XI in a footnote to the text [Poems (4o, 1891), 266–67; Poems (8o, 1891), 1:268; Ruskin, Works, 2:534, 380 n. 1].) See Table 1.
Cook and Wedderburn reproduced Ruskinʼs drawings for the “Account” only to a very limited extent. As was typical in the Library Edition, plates were carried over from previous deluxe editions published by the George Allen firm; and therefore, Collingwoodʼs “Watch‐tower at Andernach” and “Jungfrau from Interlachen” plates made a reappearance. (See Ruskin, Works, 2:354 opp., 380 opp.; see also 1891. As in Collingwoodʼs edition, the plate illustrating Andernach is situated with its corresponding poem and prose; however, whereas in Collingwoodʼs edition the Jungfrau plate appears opposite [“Entrance to Schaffhausen”] and [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”], in the Library Edition it is placed opposite the poem, “Passing the Alps”, and the start of the composite section, “Chamouni”.) In addition, however, the editors recognized the need of at least one facsimile to illustrate the often‐quoted description in Praeterita of the illustrated fair copy, so they reproduced a single page from MS IX—the title page, with Turneresque vignette drawing, of the “Ehrenbreitstein” section (Ruskin, Works, 2:356 opp.). Beyond this facsimile, the editors settled for describing Ruskinʼs illustrations in footnotes marking the place in the text where they occur.
The Cook and Wedderburn version, therefore, makes a much more convincing case as a comprehensive representation of Ruskinʼs final vision of the “Account”, if not a thorough one. Besides the additions already mentioned, the Library Edition editors supplied lines for “The Summit” that are missing in Collingwoodʼs text; and while not thorough or even systematic, the editors noted other variant words and lines that Collingwood overlooked or omitted mentioning in his notes. Collingwood was content to provide only the “original” (i.e., MS IX) versions of the most extensively revised texts, “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”.
From Seven to Seventeen, ed. Breton, Becker, and Schurter (2012)
For this edition of selected poems, published by the Juvenilia Press, the editors chose “Via Mala”, “Splugen”, and “The Summit”, edited from MS VIII, with the addition of “light punctuation” according to their regular practice (Breton, Becker, and Schurter, eds., From Seven to Seventeen, 51ʼ59, xxii).
Table 1
In , the columns list vertically, by title, the separate verse and prose sections and illustrations of the “Account”, as they appear sequentially in the manuscripts or parts of manuscripts containing the work. Horizontally, the columns represent a rough chronological order, extending from the conjecturally earliest composed to the latest composed or fair‐copied of the manuscripts, followed by the successive edited versions of the “Account”. The final column lists the ERM proposed reconstruction of the “Account”, including correction of some portions of the sequence in earlier editions, and extension of the sequence to include Ruskinʼs List of Proposed Additional Contents for Account of a Tour on the Continent.
The horizontal arrangement of the table is not meant to represent the sequence of composition, poem by poem, essay by essay, with strict accuracy, since Ruskin worked on more than one of these manuscripts simultaneously. For example, while Ruskin probably started the fair copy, MS IX, before taking up MS VIII for drafting later sections of the “Account”, after a certain point he developed one alongside the other.
Additional information is provided in columns to the right of some manuscripts and editions. Columns listing Ruskinʼs line numbering, which he attached to the verse sections of some manuscripts, may provide clues about the sequence of composition when this numbering can be viewed in tabular form. Columns listing editorial glosses inform the reader which section titles carry textual and/or contextual glosses.
Itinerary and Tourism
For the itinerary and other details concerning the Ruskin familyʼs first major tour to the Continent, which inspired Ruskinʼs “Account”, see Tour of 1833 and also the Map and Chronology. For the familyʼs earlier, and much more limited Continental tour, when Ruskin was only six years old, see Tour of 1825.
Sources and Influences
Print Culture of Illustrated Travel and Topographical Literature and Art
The most familiar description of the literary and artistic context surrounding both the actual journey of 1833 and Ruskinʼs composition of the “Account” is his story in the autobiography, Praeterita, in which he declares that “the main tenor of my life” was established by the gift of the 1830 illustrated edition of the topographical poem Italy by Samuel Rogers (1763–1855), with engraved vignettes after drawings by J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851), Thomas Stothard (1755–1834), Samuel Prout (1783–1852), and others (Ruskin, Works, 39:79).
A second influence, according to Praeterita, was the familyʼs acquisition in April 1833 of Facsimiles of Sketches Made in Flanders and Germany by Samuel Prout (1783–1852): “I well remember going with my father into the shop where subscribers entered their names, and being referred to the specimen print, the turreted window over Moselle, at Coblentz. We got the book home to Herne Hill before the time of our usual annual tour” (Ruskin, Works, 39:79; and see Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 286 n. 1). This work, which was indeed published that spring with John James Ruskin among the printed list of subscribers, is credited by Ruskin, doubtless apocryphally, with having prompted the familyʼs tour spontaneously, whereas the journey must in fact have long been in planning: “as my mother watched my fatherʼs pleasure and mine in looking at the wonderful places, she said, why should we not go and see some of them in reality? My father hesitated a little, then with glittering eyes said—why not? And there were two or three weeks of entirely rapturous and amazed preparation” (Ruskin, Works, 39:79). While Proutʼs lithographs cannot solely have prompted the tour as such, the book probably did help imaginatively to orient the family to the north of Europe, just as Rogersʼs Italy provided a vision of the southern region of the Continent.
The influence of these two publications is exaggerated in Praeterita, but the two books can be viewed as representative not only of Ruskinʼs conceptualization of his familyʼs northern and southern destinations, but also of how those destinations were materially embodied in the illustrated travel writing and publication of the 1830s. Proutʼs Facsimiles provides a pictorial tour through Belgium and Germany in fifty lithographic prints, featuring picturesque medieval and Renaissance architectural sites. The book contains no letterpress; the locales depicted are identified only by place names lettered directly onto the lithographic stone, as part of the image. The lithographs, then a new medium in Britain, would have struck the Ruskins by their dramatically large size (22 by 15 inches) and watercolor‐like texture. In contrast, Rogersʼs Italy leads the reader on the more traditional Grand Tour through the Alps into the south. The linked series of topographical and narrative poems forms a more conventional work, less picturesque than historical and classically learned. Rogersʼs verse and taste were late‐eighteenth‐century in manner, and his Italy could not compete in popularity with Lord Byronʼs fourth part of Childe Haroldʼs Pilgrimage, which is set in Venice. While not entirely ignored, the work gained popular acclaim only when Rogers invested in the graphic enhancements that enabled him to repackage the poem as the 1830 illustrated edition, exploiting the up‐to‐date technologies of steel engraving and mass production that had sponsored the boom in Annuals and Other Illustrated Books (see Samuel Rogers [1763–1855]). The edition was innovative also in combining an intaglio process—its finely etched, steel‐engraved vignettes (2–3 inches by 3–4 inches) that illustrate Rogersʼs poems—with the relief printing of the poems on the same page. The exquisite vignettes (a more typical size for the engraved area of steel‐engraved book illustration was larger, 7 by 5 inches [Hunnisett, Steel‐Engraved Book Illustration in England, 35]) conveyed Turnerʼs atmospheric effects on a scale that harmonized with Rogersʼs modest poems; and the genre vignettes by Stothard—long a favorite artist of Rogersʼs—presented a benignly colorful of peasant culture. For the Ruskins, both the contrasts and complements with Proutʼs imposing lithographic plates detailing busy town squares surrounding picturesque architectural monuments must have seemed dramatic.
As the compositional history is interpreted in ERM, Ruskinʼs “Account” underwent a development parallel to that of Rogersʼs work, originating as a travelogue written solely in verse and in an eighteenth‐century manner of topographical poetry, and then being elaborated as an illustrated composite‐genre travel narrative typical of the steel‐engraved landscape annuals of the 1830s (see Composition and Publication). The Ruskin family was familiar with Italy in one of its earlier, non‐illustrated versions, which they owned, as well as with the 1830 illustrated version (although, as remarked in Date of Composition, there is some ambiguity concerning when the family acquired the illustrated version). Regardless of when this book entered the household, its influence is palpable from the start of Ruskinʼs MS IX fair copy of the “Account”. While critics have focused too exclusively on Rogersʼs Italy as Ruskinʼs model, at the cost of recognizing his imitations of Proutʼs Facsimiles (see, e.g., Spear, “Ruskinʼs Italy”), it is true that Rogersʼs book frames the foundational layout and conception of the composite‐genre “Account”. Ruskin modeled his section divisions on Rogersʼs layout, observing how text and illustration form a coherent unit. Like Rogers, he entitles his topographical sections so as to identify a landmark destination—“Calais”, “Cassel”, “Lille”, “Brussels”, “The Meuse”, “Aix la Chapelle”, “Cologne”, “Andernacht”, “Ehrenbreitstein”, “St. Goar”, and “Heidelberg”—and for these section titles, he uses a lettering that imitates Rogersʼs restrained display type. (The “St. Goar” and “Heidelberg” sections are missing their headings, owing to the unfinished state of the fair copy.) Ruskinʼs placement of illustration vis‐à‐vis text likewise imitates Rogersʼs layout, by heading the first page of each section with a landscape vignette above the section title, in order to situate the reader in a distinct place, and by closing each section with a figure vignette as a tailpiece, in order to caption some portion of the narrative.
In this arrangement of text and image, Ruskin captured the 1830 Italyʼs notable innovation of combining the intaglio effects of the vignette on the same page with the relief type. Rogers probably based his layout on the admired designs by William Bulmer (1757–1830) for editions of English poets, published in the 1790s by his Shakspeare Press (Piggott, Turnerʼs Vignettes, 20). The editions were decorated with wood‐engraved vignettes by Thomas Bewick (1753–1828), set at the heads of title pages of the poems, and producing an elegant page layout, which was made possible by the conformity of the relief wood engraving with the relief type. That conformity was not possible in the new mass‐produced annuals, which relied on the durability of steel engraving to achieve unprecedented print runs for illustrated books. To solve this problem, and achieve the elegant effects of Bulmerʼs and Bewickʼs designs, and yet print the books on a massive scale, Rogersʼs printers innovated a technique, which was widely remarked in reviews of the 1830 Italy, whereby precise registration allowed the sheets to be run through the press twice, once for the engraving, and once for the type (Powell, “Turnerʼs Vignettes and the Making of Rogersʼ ‘Italy’”, 3). Ruskin was attentive to this up‐to‐date innovation.
In his drawings imitating steel engravings, Ruskin strives to harmonize his illustrations with text in the manner of Turnerʼs vignettes for Rogers. Turner exploited the potential of fine‐lined but durable steel engraving to allow indefinite borders of an engraving to melt into the white space of the paper, creating a world within the page (Piggott, Turnerʼs Vignettes, 14–16). Ruskinʼs drawings emphasize how such frameless, soft‐edged rectangular, square, or oval designs harmonize with his left‐ and right‐justified blocks of text to make a unity of effect.
Ruskinʼs success in imitating Turnerʼs vignettes has drawn critical attention away from his attention to the contrasting textures of Proutʼs lithographs. The young artistʼs most ambitious study of Prout in the “Account” is a copy of the lithograph, Palais du Prince, Liège, which Ruskin places at the close of the section on “The Meuse”. Exacting as it is, the copy is not merely mechanical, but an exploration of the anecdotal, touristic world of the travelerʼs picturesque, and how this world is captured by the fluid and watercolor‐like texture of a lithograph, as compared with the fairy world of brilliant light and haunted shadow suggested by the exquisite intaglio of Turnerʼs vignettes. To indicate the relative size of Proutʼs lithograph, Ruskin drew the image full‐page and broadside in the MS IX notebook. Another copy after Prout is contained within the section on “Cologne”. That section also begins far down on an otherwise blank page of MS IX, the gap probably having been intended to feature a large architectural drawing in the manner of Prout, such as opens “Aix la Chapelle”.
Ruskinʼs fair‐copy version of the “Account” extends beyond Rogersʼs model in Italy also by combining verse and illustration with prose. Rogers did include some prose in Italy—brief essays and a tale, in “Part the Second” (1828) of the work (“National Prejudices”, “Caius Cestius”, “Foreign Travel”, and “The Bag of Gold” in Rogers, Italy (1828), 35–40, 51–52, 62–71, 107–19); and he reprinted these prose pieces and added three more tales to the 1830 edition (“Marcolini”, “Montorio”, and “Marco Griffoni” in Rogers, Italy (1830), 85–87, 140–43, 230–32). But Rogers subtitled his work A Poem, and he dispersed the few prose pieces irregularly, with at most a pattern of loose association with their immediately surrounding poems, whereas Ruskin constructed each of his topographical sections (with one exception) using both verse and prose. Unlike Rogers, Ruskin did not independently title his prose pieces, but subordinated them to the topographical unit, typically separating prose from poem with a drawing, which serves as a hinge between the two kinds of writing and binds the parts into an associative, but still coherent unit. At the same time, while complementing the poems, Ruskinʼs prose pieces also contrast with his rather generalized, picturesque poetic views, by bringing the tone down to earth with first‐person, anecdotal and comedic commentary about specific locales.
Thus, Ruskin amplified Rogersʼs uniform pattern of text and illustration, which in the 1830 Italy consists of a landscape vignette after a drawing by Turner serving as a header, placed above a poemʼs title; and following the poem, a figure vignette after a drawing by Stothard, serving as a tailpiece. (The prose pieces are not illustrated.) While in its present condition, the MS IX fair copy is missing many drawings (see The Composite‐Genre Illustrated Travelogue), the examples remaining in place indicate that Ruskin intended, at the least, to complement each poem with a prose piece, and to supply each poem and each prose piece with its own headpiece and tailpiece—four vignettes in total for each topographical unit. And while Ruskin typically honors Rogersʼs pattern of using a landscape or cityscape as a headpiece, and a figure drawing as tailpiece, he varies the pattern somewhat (as does Rogers) by occasionally heading a section with a more anecdotal, narrative vignette.
Ruskin carries his principle of amplification in the sister arts to an extreme in the sections on “Andernacht”, “Ehrenbreitstein”, and “St. Goar”. With each section fully elaborated in itself as a composite of verse, prose, and illustration, the outer sections of the trio also work as contrasts to one another—the first, “Andernacht”, composed and illustrated in a gothic mode; and the third, “St. Goar”, in a domestic mode. Between them, “Ehrenbreitstein” both functions as and thematizes the topic of confluence, as the meeting point of dark gothic and sunny domesticity. Confluence is topographically represented by the meeting point of the Rhine River and the Moselle River at Coblenz, where the fortress of Ehrenbreitstein looms over the riversʼ juncture. Ruskinʼs landscape vignette for “Ehrenbreitstein” is copied after one of Turnerʼs renderings of the fortress, not from Italy, but from a full‐page steel engraving in an annual—Ruskin having appointed himself the exercise of reducing the bold scene to a small oval.
Evidence in MS VIII draft suggests that Ruskin began a similar amplification in describing the first sighting of the Alps from Schaffhausen. Two attempts at drafting poems about this experience suggest the contrasting registers of the sublime and domestic, like “Andernacht” and “St. Goar”. The earlier composed of the two poems, “There is a charmed peace, that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”], builds up to its cry of discovery, “The Alps the Alps,—Full far away / The long successive ranges lay”, by imaginatively coursing the Rhine, whereas a later‐composed fragment, “Schaffhausen”, can be read as an alternate introduction to the scene, by tracing a stroll to the “summit of the hill” from whence presumably the mountains would be sighted, had Ruskin continued with the poem. Biographically, the climb up that hill occurred on the same Sabbath evening with which Ruskin opens his description of the Rhine in >“There is a charmed peace that aye>” [>“The Alps from Schaffhausen>”], but the fragment, “Schaffhausen”, seems the start of a domestic complement to the sublimity of the earlier‐composed, longer piece, with its description of the river driving toward the Rhine Falls, rendered in emphatically pounded dactylic lines, which stand out from the normal, amiable flow of iambic octosyllabic verse.
As a contrast with these large, amplified units of verse, prose, and picture, comprising contrasting genres, the section “Aix la Chapelle” in MS IX consists only of a prose text and a single illustration. The headpiece is an imposing rendering of the cityʼs cathedral, drawn in Proutʼs manner. Taking up nearly a full page like Ruskinʼs other ambitious copy after Prout, the lithograph‐like drawing of Liège, the large rectangular image of the cathedral is not a vignette, and was probably meant to imitate the comparatively large dimensions of Proutʼs portfolio. Beneath the drawing, Ruskin allowed just enough space for the section heading and a few lines of text, just as place names are lettered directly onto Proutʼs plates. Even here, however, where Ruskin pivots away from his grand multi‐genre and multi‐media amplifications of Rogersʼs design, to exhibit a large‐scale but unitary plate in the manner of Prout, he cannot resist varying the single prose essay by combining in it both comic and picturesque modes (the latter typically represented by verse in the “Account”). First, the narrator riffs on the Peace of Aix la Chapelle to mock the somnolent “peace treaties” governing the local postillions, but then the speaker is rhapsodically taken by the sublimity of the cathedralʼs interior in moonlight, described in the manner of Scott. Finally, Ruskinʼs narrator parodies a guidebook writerʼs tour of antiquities inside the cathedral. As in the section, “Ehrenbreitstein”, the condensation of multiple genres is thematically reflected in a geographical situation that bespeaks confluence. Aix la Chapelle lay at the juncture of the Netherlands, Germany, and the newly founded Belgium, and the city was historically distinctive for its imperial status.
In Ruskinʼs liveliness of response to the material world of art production and reproduction that guided early Victorian picturesque travel, his achievement in the “Account” is overlooked by interpretations that insist on the neurotic constraints of Ruskinʼs early self‐instruction in drawing. For example, Paul H. Walton sees Ruskinʼs adoption of Proutʼs “outline style” of depicting old architecture with “broken lines and dots” as one example of the youthʼs tendency “to revert to pen and ink in more factual studies of picturesque buildings and views”, owing to a misguided direction of “his earliest art activity . . . along lines strictly defined by adult standards and ideas of what was educationally desirable, so that he was not encouraged, nor did he have the time, to draw in a playful way the kinds of figure subjects in which a child imaginatively expresses and defines a conception of himself within a framework of human relationships”. As a contrast with this alleged “crippl[ing]” of Ruskinʼs imagination, which “had much to do with the tragedy of his personal life”, Walton points to “the happy, normal family life of a boy” like Ruskinʼs later sexual nemesis, John Everett Millais, whose youthful drawings included the kind of “subjects usually preferred by boy artists: soldiers, animals, machines, caricatures of family and friends”. As a consequence, even when a prospect of freedom opened up in Ruskinʼs youthful art teaching, such as when his first drawing master, Charles Runciman (1798–1864) challenged the boy “to imitate the free, controlled sweep of the pencil in . . . [the teacherʼs] models”, Ruskin, according to Walton, retreated to his more formal depictions of buildings in pen and ink (Walton, Drawings of John Ruskin, 13, 7, 8, 7, 6).
It is not true, however, that Ruskinʼs writing and drawings neglect subjects appropriate to “boy artists”; more importantly, Waltonʼs division of the normative from the creative ignores how spontaneity and invention can be prompted in surprising ways, and one of these is the young Ruskinʼs playfulness in manipulating the material culture surrounding a youth of the 1830s. In the “Account”, Ruskin not only contrasts what he finds in print culture, such as the respective scales of Prout lithographs and Turner vignettes; he also amuses himself by manipulating that culture—for example, reconceptualizing Turnerʼs full‐page engraving, Ehrenbreitstein, as a vignette, or shrinking one of Proutʼs market square scenes to a Lilliputian vignette heading “Lille”, a section that in itself plays with the topic of recession and expansion through motion (the travelers receding “Farther and farther . . . / From Cassels insulated crest” to where “Lille upon us sudden broke” in its “rich irregularity” of “form and figure fair, / . . . moving, breathing, living there” [“Lille”, lines 11–12, 32, 38–40]).
Viewed in this way, the “Account” is far from the “unfinished folly” that Ruskin dismissed in Praeterita (Ruskin, Works, 35:81), much less evidence of neurosis. While Ruskin did leave the work unfinished, he had exhausted its potential and propelled him forward to take his own place as a published author, “J.R.”, in the material culture of ekphrastic and topographical illustrated travel publication.
Views of Northern Europe in Print Culture of the 1830s
For British travelers in the 1820s–30s, emergent developments in touristic experience were perhaps most vivid in new and less familiar routes opening up in northern Europe alongside the well‐worn path of the Grand Tour to Italy. Apart from the attraction of Waterloo Field, travel in the Pas‐de‐Calais and Flanders remained comparatively unfamiliar except as a route to be got over as quickly as possible on the way to France and Germany. While in Praeterita Ruskin exaggerates the solitary significance of Proutʼs Facsimiles (1833) in prompting the familyʼs journey, the artistʼs early importance to British perceptions of northern Europe is corroborated by the novelty of his representations of towns in northern France, Belgium, and Germany. If Byron had rushed readers down the Rhine in canto 3 (1816) of Childe Haroldʼs Pilgrimage (stanzas 46–61, in Byron, Complete Poetical Works, ed. McGann, 2:93–99), Prout enabled viewers to dwell on Illustrations of the Rhine, published 1822–26, based on an 1821 tour (see Lockett, Samuel Prout, 50–53). (Proutʼs volume documenting tours of southern Europe, Sketches Made in France, Switzerland, and Italy, was not published until 1839.) While such scenic representations grew more familiar in the later 1830s and 1840s from similar projects by T. M. Richardson (1784–1848), J. D. Harding (1797–1863), T. S. Boys (1803–74), Clarkson Stanfield (1793–1867), and Louis Haghe (1806–85), Prout was a foundational influence on artists seeking architectural picturesque subjects in these regions (Lockett, Samuel Prout, 76).
Since Prout had established his lead in depicting the market towns of the Low Countries and Germany since the 1820s, his Facsimiles of 1833 may well have served as a kind of guidebook for the Ruskins (although of course they could not take a folio volume with them). Proutʼs views would have persuaded them to adopt a more leisurely and attentive pace through these towns, on the first leg of their Continental tour. In fact, the route that the Ruskins traced through northern France and along the Rhine in Germany is strikingly similar to the actual path of Proutʼs sketching tour of 1821, although the sequence of the published lithographs in Facsimiles departs somewhat from the actual route, opening with a market scene occupying the square in front of the Hotel de Ville in Brussels (see Lockett, Samuel Prout, 50, 59). For Proutʼs itinerary and his place of his publications among others relating to travel in northern Europe during this period, see Tour of 1833.
The Influence of Rogersʼs Poetry on Ruskinʼs Planned Extension of the Composite‐Genre Travelogue to Italy and Switzerland
The sole surviving authority for guiding a reconstruction of the unfinished “Account” is Ruskinʼs own Plan for Continuation of the Account of a Tour on the Continent (see the preceding discussion of the Plan). As argued below in Conjectural Extension of the Composite‐Genre Travelogue in Poems (1891) and Works (1903), the editors of those volumes appear to have paid scant attention to the Plan when constructing their extensions of the “Account”. The Plan is significant, not only as an authority for Ruskinʼs intentions for completing the work, but also as a key to revealing the influence of Samuel Rogersʼs poetry on Ruskinʼs design, an influence that is strongest—at least on the evidence of surviving draft—in the representation of Alpine crossings, from Germany into Italy, and from Italy into Switzerland.
That the young Ruskin owed any debt at all to Rogerʼs poetry may seem surprising, given Ruskinʼs later story about his supposed contretemps, when he was introduced as a boy wonder to the famous man of taste, of “congratulating . . . [Rogers] with enthusiasm on the beauty of the engravings by which his poems were illustrated,” thus implying that the youth knew “more of the vignettes [in Italy] than the verses” (Ruskin, Works, 34:96). Ruskin did respond insightfully and creatively to the poems, however, as becomes evident by comparing his draft writing for the Italian and Swiss sections of the “Account” to the positions these pieces would have occupied in the Plan, and then comparing Rogersʼs own sequence of poems in Italy. These comparisons show that, surprisingly, Ruskin took from Rogers mainly ideas for representing the experience of mountain crossing, rather than what was surely Rogersʼs own primary focus—the arrival in the sunny plains below.
In the Plan for Continuation of the “Account”, following [“Heidelberg”]—the title of the last section that Ruskin succeeded in fair‐copying (incompletely) in MS IX—he lists a group of titles relating to the first sighting of the distant Alps and the first exposure to “Swiss” character in the borderland between Germany and Switzerland:
  • “Strasburg”;
  • “The swiss cottages”;
  • “Schaffhausen”;
  • “The Alps”;
  • “The Fall of the Rhine”;
  • “Constance”;
  • “Werdenberg”;
  • “Pfaffers”.
The Plan does not make clear whether Ruskin meant these titles to refer to composite sections, or to individual pieces, some of which he had already composed, but we can only assume that he intended to maintain the composite design of the “Account”. For this cluster of titles, the extant individual draft pieces that, in their content, most likely correspond to the proposed composite sections include the poem, “Oh, the morn looked bright on hill and dale”, which Collingwood entitled “The Black Forest”, and which is suggestive of the title given in the Plan as “The swiss cottages”. (It was then common, if inaccurate, to characterize Black Forest peasant houses as “Swiss”.) This poem was drafted in MS VIII, where it is followed by a prose fragment, “It was a wide stretchy sweep of lovely blue champaign”, which is almost certainly intended as part a composite with the poem (see the glosses attached to this essay, which the editors of the Library Edition, erroneously associated with a different poem). Two other pieces pertinent to this cluster in the Plan, which were drafted in MS VIII, are the poems, “Schaffhausen”, which Ruskin himself entitled, although Collingwood decided to rename it “Entrance to Schaffhausen”; and “There is a charmed peace that aye”, which Ruskin left untitled, and which Collingwood called “The Alps from Schaffhausen”.
As Collingwoodʼs editorial titles suggest, he read these poems through the lens of Ruskinʼs representation of the 1833 tour in Praeterita, which turns on the first sighting of the Alps from Schaffhausen as a transformative experience. Indeed, Collingwood highlighted “There is a charmed peace that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”], by bestowing on it an epigraph from Praeterita quoting the epiphany of first sighting. But rather than reconstructing a completed version of the “Account” by reading the autobiography backwards on the work, a more compelling interpretation emerges by reading the Plan, along with the surviving draft corresponding to it, as a literary design derived from Rogers. (One consequence, then, is to perceive the long reach of Rogersʼs influence, via the “Account”, on the narrative in the autobiography, rather than spuriously treating the poems as documentary evidence for what Ruskin would write a half‐century later.)
At the center of this cluster turning on the first sighting of the Alps, Ruskin adopted the title of Rogersʼs poem from Italy, “The Alps”. Moreover, Ruskin placed strong allusions to lines in Rogersʼs “The Alps” in the poem, “There is a charmed peace that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”]. The poem not only contains Rogersʼs title in the speakerʼs cry, “The Alps the Alps,—Full far away / The long successive ranges lay”; the poem also concludes with the promise, “look once on the Alps by the sunset quiver / And think on the moment thenceforward for ever”—an adpatation of Rogersʼs lines on first viewing the distant mountains, “A something that informs him [i.e., the spectator] ʼtis an hour, / Whence he may date henceforward and forever!” (Rogers, Italy, 29–30). (For further detail about these allusions to Rogersʼs “The Alps”, see the contextual glosses attached to Ruskinʼs “There is a charmed peace that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”].)
We do not know how Ruskin would have played out the theme of first sightings of mountain country throughout this cluster—no known draft verse or prose survives relating to Strasbourg, Constance, Werdenberg, or Pfaffers—but for the following cluster of titles listed in the Plan, a cluster detailing the experience of physically crossing the Alps, he drafted poems unquestionably connected with nearly every title, and he drafted them in the same sequence as the titles appear in the Plan. And again, to develop the trope of mountain crossing, he drew on various aspects of Rogersʼs influence:
  • “Passing the Alps”, for which the poem “Passing the Alps” is extant in MS IA, g.2;
  • “Via Mala”, for which the poem “Via Mala” is extant in MS VIII;
  • “Splugen”, for which the poem “Splugen” is extant in MS VIII;
  • “The Summit”, for which the poem “The Summit” is extant in MS VIII;
  • “The Descent”, for which the poem “The Descent” is extant in MS VIII, and which corresponds to Rogersʼs "The Descent";
  • “Italia, Italia”, for which no readily identifiable composition survives, but which corresponds to Rogersʼs “Italy” (a poem within the larger work).
The draft poem connected with the first title, “Passing the Alps”, is particularly rich with borrowings from Rogersʼs “The Alps”. In Rogersʼs poem, following the trope which Ruskin used in the previous cluster—the first, revelatory sight of the mountains reorienting the self to a new era in the selfʼs history, by “look[ing] once on the Alps . . . / And think[ing] on the moment thenceforward for ever”—the speaker goes on to meditate on the Alps as a “barrier” determining the fate of nations rather than the self, whether of nations struggling to conquer that barrier or seeking its protection. For the English during the Napoleonic era and afterward, this theme was resonant with recent threats of invasion. But writing in 1818 (and looking back to his tour taken during the temporary peace of 1814), Rogers is able to contrast the danger and difficulty of nations struggling in the past against the barrier of the Alps, using historical examples such as Hannibalʼs invasion of Rome, with the pleasure of the modern touristʼs ease and security of mountain travel. That ease was afforded, ironically, by wartime engineering to overcome the Alpine barrier, bringing conquest. (Rogers entered Italy from western Switzerland, using the broad carriage road through the Simplon Pass, which had been laid by Napoleonʼs engineers.) In “Passing the Alps”, Ruskin elaborates Rogersʼs brief historical example of Hannibalʼs crossing into a poem‐length spectacle, his imagination likely fired not only by Rogersʼs lines but also by Turnerʼs vignette for that poem in the 1830 edition of Italy, which depicts Hannibalʼs army filing with their elephants through the mountains. In his poem, Ruskin makes a corresponding effort at writing the sublime, adumbrating the catastrophe for Rome in the menacing turmoil of the surrounding landscape and atmosphere. The poem is to some degree an ekphrasis, based on Turnerʼs vignette (see the contextual glosses for “Passing the Alps”).
In context of Ruskinʼs Plan, “Passing the Alps” can be viewed structurally either as a pivot between the two clusters—that on the first distant sighting of the Alps, and the cluster on crossing the mountains into Italy—or the poem can be regarded as the first piece in the series relating the physical crossing. It should be borne in mind that Ruskin composed the poem earlier than and separately from the other poems about mountain crossing. In its original context, MS IA, g.2, “Passing the Alps” was situated between the prose essay, “Calais”, and the poem, “Milan Cathedral” (see The Composite‐Genre Travelogue [MS IA, g.2]). Here, Ruskin was perhaps imitating Rogersʼs structural function of “The Alps” as a pivotal poem, preparing the reader for passing through the “barrier” of the Alps between north and south, Calais and Milan, by reflecting on history and spectacle—Hannibalʼs crossing—just as Rogers causes the reader to trace and re–trace ground between west and east, by reflecting on both ancient and modern history.
By selecting only the one historical example of Hannibalʼs crossing for elaboration, however, from the several with which Rogers crowds “The Alps”, Ruskin demonstrates a tendency to expand and attenuate what Rogers presents as layers of memory and history. On the one hand, by positioning his Hannibal poem, “Passing the Alps”, as a fulcrum between sections about approaching the Alps and sections about crossing the mountains, Ruskin acknowledges Rogersʼs procedure of concentrating and multiplying perspectives. In Rogersʼs “The Alps”, the speaker describes multiple viewpoints, first recalling his approach to the mountains from below, in western Switzerland (Rogers begins Italy in Lake Geneva and environs) and then gazing over a wide prospect from above—retracing the winding road that he has climbed, and anticipating the path that he will follow to descend into Italy. In Ruskinʼs sequence, these stages are drawn out as a succession of real‐time descriptions, with each stage of the passage represented by a separate poem: the sublime terror of the Via Mala; a respite in the pastoral village of Splügen; the turning point achieved amid the bleak landscape of the summit, with its dire remembrances of fallen travelers; and the breathtaking descent, winding among the precipitous cliffs, viewed first from above and then from below. In Italy, Rogers places “The Alps”, which describes (without naming) the Simplon, following the poem, “The Great St. Bernard” (which he did not visit); and between these two poems falls another, “The Descent”, which illogically leads the traveler downward from the Simplon (again without explicitly identifying it) before the traveler arrives at the pass in “The Alps”. But Rogers was less concerned than Ruskin with tracing the journey linearly; rather, he framed multiple and overlapping opportunites to contextualize the journey in both ancient and recent history. Anticipating the catalog of historical struggles against the Alpine barrier in “The Alps”, the speaker in “The Descent” relays his guideʼs tale of personally encountering Napoleon himself, marching his army to Italy and victory at Marengo.
Yet, while Ruskin makes his sequences linear where Rogersʼs are complex, he does learn from Rogersʼs ability to discipline his proclivity for digression and complexity by imposing neoclassical balance. In Italy, Rogers digresses between “The Descent” and “The Alps” to relate two verse narratives, but the stories are balanced topographically and thematically. “Jorasse”, a highland tale about an intrepid Alpine hunter who delves into a cave, is complemented by “Marguerite de Tours”, a lowland tale about a girl who crosses from Martigny, on the Swiss side of the St. Bernard, to the opposite vale of Aosta in order to attend to her dying father. Symmetrical and complementary arrangement when showcasing variety was characteristic of Rogersʼs mix of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, a principle reflected in the arrangement not only of his verse but also of his art collection in his famed St. James Place bachelorʼs residence. As one of visitors, the art historian Gustav Friedrich Waagen, commented in 1835, “one knows not whether more to admire the diversity or the purity of his taste” in exhibiting his treasures; “[p]ictures of the most different schools, ancient and modern sculptures, Greek vases, alternately attract the eye, and are so arranged, with a judicious regard to their size, in proportion to the place assigned them, that every room is richly and picturesquely ornamented, without having the appearance of a magazine, from being over–filled, as we often find” (Waagen,Works of Art and Artists in England, 2:132–33; and see Hale, introduction to The Italian Journal of Samuel Rogers, 26–27).
Waagen pointedly contrasts Rogersʼs judicious arrangement with the helter‐skelter of 1830s print culture as represented by the modern magazine. Just so, in both the “Account” and the first publication derived from it, “Fragments from a Metrical Journal”, Ruskin observes Rogersʼs complementary balancing of variety by pairing, for example, the contrasting modes of gothic sublimity in “Andernacht” with domestic beauty in “St. Goar”; and in the original version, he completed the design by bridging the two poems with a middle section, “Ehrenbreitstein”, which develops a trope of confluence (in the joining of two rivers, the Rhine and the Moselle). In another example of arranging variety around a midpoint, he planned for “The Summit” to serve as the centerpiece of the cluster about crossing the Alps. At the same time, in “The Summit” Ruskin tries out Rogersʼs own way of allowing for variety within a symmetrical frame, by digressing into a narrative. If Rogers balances his two narrative poems, “Jorasse” and “Marguerite de Tours”, as a complementary pair, highland tale and lowland tale, he also digresses and elaborates: both Marguerite and Jorasse cross mountains to maintain fidelity. Ruskin is prompted by the wayside crosses on the summit of Splügen Pass to compare Alpine with Lake District tales of fidelity in tragedy. He narrates the story of Charles Gough, who fell to his death while climbing Mount Helvellyn, and whose corpse was loyally guarded by his dog until discovered. While Ruskin adopted the story from Scottʼs and Wordsworthʼs poems about Goughʼs fate (see the contextual glosses to this poem), it was the influence of Rogers that prompted him to digress into such a story at the midpoint of the poems about mountain crossing. For another instance of this technique of using topographical description to frame a narrative digression—a tale that Ruskin again probably intended to be English, but left incomplete—see “The traditions of the Rhine have long been celebrated” [“The Rhine”] [essay].
As an engagement with print culture, MS IX reflects an awareness of professional roles and public voices. Ruskin is aware that landscape artists like Prout and Turner traveled the Continent in search of subjects both for exhibition in watercolor or oil and for wider distribution in engraving and lithography. He is practicing the complementary, ekphrastic role of the letterpress writer, who provides on‐demand descriptive and historical verse or prose, in a voice that is variously authoritative or facetious, and that does not necessarily depend for its authority on a personal acquaintance with the place being described. He is exploring style not only as a resource for artistic self‐expression but also as a means of differentiation in the artistic market: he notices how stylistic differences accompany the roles assigned to Turner, Stothard, and Prout; and while his invariable model for verse remains the octosyllabic couplets of Walter Scottʼs narrative poems, he at least tries out strategies for ekphrastic and topographical description borrowed from Rogers (whose voice for learning and anecdote he cannot match).
In forming the persona J.R., Ruskin was influenced not only by literary and artistic sources, but also by living poets and artists whom he was fortunate to meet or correspond with during his conceptualization and composition of the “Account”. These contacts became especially important as Ruskin was “brought forward” as a professional contributor to Friendshipʼs Offering (see Hanson, “Ruskin in the 1830s”). Two of these men present a striking contrast with one another—Samuel Rogers (1763–1855) and James Hogg (ca. 1770–1835). Ruskin also had some contact at this time with John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843).
The personae of Hogg and Rogers each exhibited multiple and even contradictory sides, and the Ruskins must have been selective about what aspects of these public figures they hoped to cultivate in the patronage of their precocious son. Respecting Hogg, the Ruskins thought of him in his role as the Ettrick Shepherd, who was romantically imagined as having received his call to poetry when he was shepherd in Ettrick Forest in the Scottish Borders, and who still resided in georgic retirement on his farm in the Yarrow Valley. The Ruskins would have played down Hoggʼs colorful and risqué character in the “Noctes Ambrosianae” in Blackwoodʼs Edinburgh Magazine. This side of Hogg appealed to the Brontë siblings, who imitated the bravado and swagger of these dialogues in their own collaborative and competitive writing, but Ruskinʼs parents would hardly have considered such a persona as an appropriate model for Ruskinʼs solitary and decorous authorship.
When the Ruskins met Hogg personally in 1832, he was undertaking his first visit to the metropolis, where he was lionized by London society. Hoggʼs introduction to the Ruskins came by way of the community of expatriate Scottish literati in London who surrounded the publishing firms of John Murray and Smith, Elder. The latter, in particular, as the publisher of Friendshipʼs Offering, served as the hub for these connections: Hogg as a contributor to the annual; Thomas Pringle (1789–1834), as editor, and longtime friend of Hogg; and even Ruskinʼs cousin, Charles Thomas Richardson (1811–34), as a shopboy with the firm, who was the first to present Ruskin with a copy of Friendshipʼs Offering (probably the 1829 or 1830 volume, both of which contained contributions by Hogg).
Rogers, in sharp contrast with Hogg, was the urbane “man of taste,” whose townhouse in St. James Place was a showplace of exquisitely curated Regency neoclassicism, and the scene of his famous breakfasts at which Rogers acted the part of social arbiter of the current London artistic and literary scene. In his most positive light, Rogers might have appeared to the Ruskins as a splendid embodiment of John Jamesʼs tastes and aspirations. A former associate of Byron, and a habitué of at least the byways of fame, Rogers had earned a sound reputation for his poem, The Pleasures of Memory (1792), and, more recently, Italy. The latter may have paled in the popular glare of Childe Haroldʼs Pilgrimage, but the poem was respectably and approachably neoclassical, regular in its versification, and grounded in the tradition of the Grand Tour to Italy. Rogers was also, like John James, a successful businessman, having made his fortune in banking; and even though he lavished extravagant sums on artists, engravers, and printers in order to satisfy his perfectionism in crafting editions of his poetry, Rogers recouped his huge investment in his illustrated edition of Italy and profited handsomely by its unprecedented sales. The unattractive side of Rogers to the Ruskins would have been his notoriously acid wit and his worldliness at a time when middle‐class Evangelical earnestness was turning the tide on Regency profligacy.
The two writers also differed profoundly in taste. Rogers was so committed to his neoclassicism that Turner reined in his apocalyptic manner typical of his other works of the period in favor of a style that would harmonize with Rogersʼs restraint–for example, by using less dramatic perspective in his vignette designs for Italy (Holcomb, “Neglected Classical Phase of Turnerʼs Art”). The artist whom Hogg most admired and hoped to secure as illustrator for his grandest gift book, a deluxe edition of The Queenʼs Wake, was John Martin (1789–1854)—the artist who, far from restraining the apocalyptic sublime, made his career by carrying such subjects to unprecedented scale and histrionic theatricality. (All too typically for the hapless author, and despite generous subscription donations by John James Ruskin and others, Hoggʼs deluxe edition was never produced owing to disruptions in trade caused by Reform agitation in 1832; see OʼHalloran, “Illustrations to The Queenʼs Wake, c–civ.)
Of the two relationships, the Ruskinsʼ contact with Hogg is the best documented (see James Hogg [ca. 1770–1835)]). John Jamesʼs evident preference for the Ettrick Shepherdʼs advice about Ruskinʼs future as a poet, at the time when the youth was laboring over the “Account”, may be no accident. Compared to Rogers, Hogg may have seemed hapless in his fortunes: his London venture ended in him foolishly mislaying his trust in an under‐financed publisher, who went bankrupt and squandered the opportunity to produce a collected edition worthy of the author, whereas Rogers boasted the means to encase his writing in increasing splendor. In 1834, when John James wrote to Hogg about Johnʼs “promise of very considerable talent,” Rogers followed up the success of his 1830 Italy with an edition of his collected Poems, likewise illustrated by Turner, Stothard, and others, which the Athenaeum declared to be a “volume which, for true elegance and pictorial fancy, is unequalled, in an age remarkable for its love of splendid books” (Garden, ed., Memorials of James Hogg, 274; Piggott, Turnerʼs Vignettes, 39). Nonetheless, when writing to Hogg, John James sounds pointed in addressing Hogg as a man “of talent and of heart,” as compared with “the world at large,” which lacks “comprehen[sion] . . . patience . . . feeling . . . delicacy,” suggesting that he trusted the humble Scottish “shepherd” over the urbane man of taste (Garden, ed., Memorials of James Hogg, 274).
Despite John Jamesʼs sentiments, both Rogersʼs successes and Hoggʼs disappointments were endemic to a period of transition between publishing in the age of Scott and the more entrepreneurial and innovative, yet also volatile and confusing print culture in the age of Dickens. In a time when critical discourse commonly bemoaned the decline of poetry in unpropitious circumstances (see, e.g., Bristow, “Introduction,” Victorian Poet, 4–5), both Rogers and Hogg appreciated how poetry could gain new life from its relation with the visual arts—a relation that was rooted in tradition reaching back to the humanist dialogue or paragone between the sister arts, yet that was also undergoing renewal and transformation by mass‐market print technologies. Both men shrewdly exploited the changes in print technology that created new venues and audiences for literature and art, such as the annuals and other illustrated books. (On Hoggʼs enterprising approach to these venues during an otherwise depressed period in literary publishing, see Currie, introduction to Hogg, Contributions to Annuals and Gift‐Books, xix-xxxii; and on his appreciation of the fine arts—particularly modern painting, for its connection with literature and its accessibility to ordinary people—see Hughes, “Hogg, Art, and the Annuals”.)
Ruskinʼs introduction to Rogers is less helpfully documented. The sole anecdote to survive concerning the youthʼs audience with the poet can be read in terms of commonalities shared by these mentors in the literary and artistic culture of the 1830s. He was escorted into Rogersʼs presence under the wing of Thomas Pringle, who enjoyed regular entrée to St. James Place (see Vigne, Thomas Pringle, 192). Ruskinʼs later story about his supposed contretemps of “congratulating . . . [Rogers] with enthusiasm on the beauty of the engravings by which his poems were illustrated,” indicating that the youth knew “more of the vignettes [in Italy] than the verses,” and the consequent chiding by Pringle “that, in future, when . . . in the company of distinguished men, . . . [he] should listen more attentively to their conversation” evokes a bygone era that valued polite conversation and dilettantish collecting (Ruskin, Works, 34:96, 35:93). Yet, while Ruskin fits the anecdote into what he now regarded as his fatuous beginnings as a poet, his misplaced complements to the illustrator only proves him to have been a boy of his decade, who had so carefully studied the visual culture represented by Rogersʼs Italy. (While we do not know precisely when Ruskinʼs introduction to Rogers occurred—the visit must have been made prior to Pringleʼs illness and death in late 1834—it is a reasonable guess that Pringle secured an audience on the strength of the youthʼs precocious achievement in the MS IX fair copy of the “Account”.)
In the early mentoring of J.R., it is surprising that the only surviving mention by John himself of his productions pertains, not to Pringle or Rogers and Friendshipʼs Offering, but to John Claudius Loudon (1783–1843), the editor of botanical, landscaping, and other natural history publications. In a verse letter to his father dated 10 March 1834, Ruskin refers to Loudon as a “friend” of the family: “To Mr. Loudon, as a friend, / By way of some communication, / Some kind of little lucubration / On any sort of observation, / Among the Alps, you know, / On Micaslate, or any slates, / Granite, and gold, or toads and snakes, / I think that I shall make a show” (Burd, ed., Ruskin Family Letters, 285). Ruskin was alluding to his geological notes—dated March 1834, but published later that year—in Loudonʼs Magazine of Natural History, “Enquiries on the Causes of the Colour of the Water of the Rhine”, and “Facts and Considerations on the Strata of Mont Blanc, and on Some Instances of Twisted Strata Observable in Switzerland”. One is struck by the apparent anomaly that the one forthcoming publication to merit Ruskinʼs attention—if he was as yet apprised of his other firsts for this year, the poetry commissions for Friendshipʼs Offering—were these geological observations. Later in life, Ruskin would find it convenient to stress his keenness of factual observation at the expense of his poetic effusion. Again, however, from the perspective of the 1830s, one can perceive commonalities in these mentorships. Loudon, like Pringle and Hogg, was a Scot—a member of the extended “family” of Scottish literati in London who surrounded the boy wonder, many of whom visited Herne Hill. Loudonʼs publications also depended on the thriving visual culture of illustrated books and magazines during the period, and they were perhaps not too distant from the poetry anthologies in their communal appraoch, inviting amateurs to contribute to forums such as the Magazine of Natural History, and other “lucubrations” that did not necessarily expect its readers and contributors to be qualified by a professional status.
The Conjectural Extension of the Composite‐Genre Travelogue in Poems (1891), Works (1903), and in Early Ruskin Manuscripts
See Publication: Poems, ed. Collingwood (1891) and Publication: Works, ed. Cook and Wedderburn (1903) for these editors' respective decisions about copytext and reconstruction of the “Account” in its integrity as a connected work, as compared with the few "fragments" published in 1834 and 1850. To summarize, Collingwood limited his edition to verse, whereas Cook and Wedderburn were the first to represent the work as composite in genre, albeit curtailing reproduction of the drawings. Both editions, however, sought to complete the work beyond the version in MS IX, which Ruskin abandoned in the middle of fair-copying the section on "Heidelberg". Cook and Wedderburn's reconstruction relied heavily on Collingwood's for the conjectural ordering of the poems and essays that Ruskin left in draft, although the 1903 edition not only rejoined the poems that Collingwood had edited with their complementary prose essays, but also rescued poems and essays about places along the tour that Collingwood had neglected altogether.
For Collingwood, it was necessary to restore the “Account” to some degree of integrity in order to justify publishing the fragmentary work at all, given the conditions placed on his edition (probably by Ruskin himself, but Collingwood does not identify the source) of omitting "poems and passages as were either without general interest, or incomplete and inadequately representative of the author's attainments and style at the time" of composition. In Praeterita, the author had rejected the “Account” as an “unfinished folly”, which "none but friends" should ever see. Collingwood interpreted this embargo as referring, "not to the literary quality of the verse"--the first condition for inclusion in an edition of the poetry--"but to the miscalculation and miscarriage of an ambitious project", thus stigmatizing the work on the grounds of the second condition. In defense, Collingwood pleaded for reconstructing the work from the “rough copies” of poems, which he was “pretty certain . . . [Ruskin] was not aware of” lying “at the back of his book‐shelves” (in MS IA and MS VIII), when he passed his rash judgment on the project in the autobiography (Poems [4o, 1891]; 1:???, 266; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:xii, 267; Ruskin, Works, 35:81). The verse framework at which Collingwood served as Cook and Wedderburnʼs base text; and while they expanded the edited text to include prose and at least a facsimilie of one drawing along with notes describing the remaining drawings, the later editors never fundamentally questioned Collingwood's framework or his editorial assumptions.
As suggested in The Influence of Rogersʼs Poetry on Ruskinʼs Planned Extension of the Composite‐Genre Travelogue, Collingwood's assumptions guiding his editorial approach to the “Account” were more biographical than literary, as indeed he introduced the entire edition of Poems as revealing "the ground-plan of [Ruskin's] character,--the bias of his mental development" (Poems [4o, 1891]; 1:xx; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:???). He regarded the “Account” as documentary evidence for Ruskinʼs narrative about the tour in Praeterita, as he indicated adding quotations from that narrative as epigraphs to the work as a whole and to some individual poems. Collingwood did not complete the “Account”, as he knew to be impossible. He was acquainted with the Plan for Continuation that Ruskin compiled on the back endpapers of MS VIII--"I find from a list at the end of No. VIII" that Ruskin "intended this volume to contain about 150 pieces of prose and poetry, and at least as many drawings!--but he was concerned only to use the draft poems to bring the reader to closure as a record of the tour, with Ruskin's impressions of Chamounix. He did not treat the Plan for Continuation as an authoritative constraint on how he arranged and even entitled the draft poems that he used to round out the work.
Clearly, Collingwood did not consider himself bound by titles in the Plan for pieces that Ruskin did not fair-copy, even though a case could be made that corresponding draft, titled and untitled, could be identified. Collingwood instead invented titles that more effectively Of course, one can argue that literary features of the "Account" influenced the narrative in Praeterita, but Collingwood stated that the latter possessed "a power of recollective imagination resembling Turner," while the use of the former was to document that "the account of the tour of Praeterita [is not] quite accurate," because, for example, "the travellers went to the west of Switzerland and the Oberland after being in Italy" (Poems [4o, 1891]; 1:283, 280; Poems [8o, 1891], 1:285, 282).If one views the “Account” simply as a topographical record, Collingwood deserves flexibility in his retitling of the draft poems, since their content can be associated with various titles in the Plan. Lines in “There is a charmed peace that aye” [“The Alps from Schaffhausen”] connect with three titles in Ruskinʼs list: “Schaffhausen”, “The Alps”, and “The Fall of the Rhine” (see the textual and contextual glosses to these poems). But the more significant connection between this draft poem and the titles in the list is the clue that the poem provides to the Plan for Continuation of the “Account” as a literary design, and not just a sequential list of places visited during the tour.
Collingwood, intent on presenting the "Account" more as a record of the 1833 tour than as Ruskin's literary and artistic apprenticeship (or, perhaps better said, assuming those two purposes to be identical), omitted the tale of Gough and his dog from "The Summit," presumably because he was offended by the intrusion of a Lake District story into an account of a Continental tour. On the same principle of treating the "Account" as a diary rather than as a literary construction, he misplaced “Passing the Alps”, relegating it to the end of the sequence--between the poems about Italy and those about the finale of the tour, Chamounix in Switzerland--rather than where Ruskin's Plan for Continuation of the Account explicitly situates the poem, as a preface to the series about crossing the Alps at Splugen. Collingwood's logic is clear enough: Hannibal descended on Italy through the western Alpine approach, the Simplon, not the northern; however, such geographical and historical literalism misses the point of Ruskin's engagement with writers and artists in the "Account." Arguably, in situating “Passing the Alps” as an introduction to Chamounix, Collingwood fulfilled Ruskin's idea, apparent in the Plan, to complement the series about crossing the Alps from the north with a reverse poetic series describing the crossing from the east in Italy:
Given Collingwood's indifference to the Plan, however, he evidence suggests that his approximation of Ruskins' intention was a happy accident.