‘Arch of rosy clouds’

Part 10 of this special series focuses on John Ruskin, an English writer, academic and critic who, like so many others presented in the Morgan Library exhibit, turned to a diary to assuage the pain of depression and anxiety.

This special Stillness of Heart series explores the Morgan Library & Museum’s fascinating exhibit, “The Diary: Three Centuries of Private Lives.”

Part 10 focuses on John Ruskin, an English writer, academic, and critic who, like so many others presented in the Morgan Library exhibit, turned to a diary to assuage the pain of depression and anxiety. Ruskin, however, went a step further and used his diary as a primary resource in the study and analysis of his own disorder. As the introductory essay points out, Ruskin “was determined to study his own patterns and learn enough about himself to remain sane. … He re-read his earlier entries, searching for signs leading up to his breakdown, underlining key words and phrases, compiling an index of his experience, and putting down on paper all he could remember of his psychotic visions.”

“No getting things done in this house. Lost all yesterday calling on Marshalls in morning. Fine afternoon, throwing down stones in the wood with Diddie and Maggie. Exquisitest purple I ever saw on hills, in afternoon, and arch of rosy clouds all over old man [a nearby mountain] and opalescent green-blue and rose over blue Helvellyn, divine, but my evening spoiled by finding the poor chaffinch’s nest in ruins, and nestlings dying. A hawk, I fancy, pouncing on the mother;– not able to return for the brood. “

Examine images of his diary and listen to the museum’s audio guide here.

Entries in this series:
Part 1: Introduction to the exhibit and Charlotte Brontë
Part 2: Frances Eliza Grenfell
Part 3: Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne
Part 4: Paul Horgan
Part 5: John Newton
Part 6: Mary Ann and Septimus Palairet
Part 7: Walter Scott
Part 8: Bartholomew Sharpe
Part 9: Tennessee Williams
Part 10: John Ruskin

Recommended reading / viewing / listening

Black holes … Differences among the GOP presidential candidates … Mummies in the house … Beating winter blues … Running the right way

Most of these great items come from my Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Follow me on Twitter and on Facebook for more fascinating videos, articles, essays and criticism. Read past recommendations from this series here.

1. What’s that strange disk around that black hole?
By Nicole Gugliucci | Discovery News | Nov. 5
“Recently, using the Hubble Space Telescope, the light from the accretion disk around a black hole has been measured for the first time.”

2. Excavating key differences among GOP candidates
By Calvin Woodward | Associated Press | Nov. 7
“The Republican presidential candidates sound much alike in their zeal to shrink government, cut taxes and replace President Barack Obama’s big health care law with, well, something entirely different. It takes some digging to see the distinctions.”

3. Report: Ames Jones to Challenge Wentworth
By Ross Ramsey | Texas Tribune | Nov. 7
“Elizabeth Ames Jones, who left the Legislature for a spot on the Texas Railroad Commission, will reportedly get out of the U.S. Senate race to run instead for the Texas Senate against incumbent Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio.”

4. Kay Bailey Hutchison says Rick Perry ‘was very brutal’ to her two years ago
By Richard Dunham | PerryPresidential | Nov. 6
“Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison may have forgiven Rick Perry for the things he said during their bitter 2010 primary battle for governor, but she surely hasn’t forgotten.”

5. Russia: Mummified Bodies Found At Historian’s Home
Associated Press | Nov. 7
“Ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin said Monday that the suspect from the Volga River city of Nizhny Novgorod dug up the bodies at several cemeteries in the region. The man, whose identity was withheld, dressed them in clothes dug up from the graves.”

6. 8 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues
By Maia Szalavitz | Healthland :: Time | Nov. 4
“As the days get shorter and winter closes in, many people feel like hibernating. We start sleeping more, eating more, avoiding social contact. The effects can be particularly oppressive for people with depression. …”

7. The Once and Future Way to Run
By Christopher McDougall | The New York Times Magazine | Nov. 2
“Left, right, repeat; that’s all running really is, a movement so natural that babies learn it the first time they rise to their feet. Yet sometime between childhood and adulthood — and between the dawn of our species and today — most of us lose the knack.”

8. Polls: Ortega likely to win 3rd term in Nicaragua
By Samantha Lugo | CNN.com | Nov. 7
“He was first elected as president in 1985, and ran unsuccessfully in 1990, 1996 and 2001 before being elected again in 2006.”

9. Brazilian Au Pair Enjoying Nameless Men, Her First Multiple Orgasm
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | April 4
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Brazilian Au Pair Enjoying Nameless Men and Her First Multiple Orgasm: Female, au pair, 26, Manhattan, ‘happily single ever after,’ straight.”

10. The Horny Suburban Mom on a Field Trip to the Big City
Daily Intel :: New York Magazine | Jan. 3
“Once a week, Daily Intel takes a peek behind doors left slightly ajar. This week, the Horny Suburban Mom on a Field Trip to the Big City: female, freelance copywriter, 44, suburban Philadelphia/NYC, ‘sexual libertine,’ single.”