RECORD: Norton, Charles Eliot. [1868]. [Recollection of Ruskin and Darwin]. In: Norton, C. E. 1905. Letters of John Ruskin to Charles Eliot Norton, 2 vols. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, vol. 1, pp. 194-95.

REVISION HISTORY: Text prepared by Kees Rookmaaker and John van Wyhe 11.2010. RN1

NOTE: Part of this recollection is reprinted in Thomas Glick, What about Darwin? Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 2010.

[page] 194


We were detained late in the country. On the 20th November [1868], Ruskin wrote: "I will come to-morrow and shall have very great

[page] 195

pleasure in meeting Mr. Darwin." They had never before met, and each was interested to see the other. The contrast between them was complete, and each in his own way was unique and delightful. Ruskin's gracious courtesy was matched by Darwin's charming and genial simplicity. Ruskin was full of questions which interested the elder naturalist by the keenness of observation and the variety of scientific attainment which they indicated, and their animated talk afforded striking illustration of the many sympathies that underlay the divergence of their points of view, and of their methods of thought. The next morning Darwin rode over on horseback to say a pleasant word about Ruskin, and two days afterward Ruskin wrote, "Mr. Darwin was delightful."

John Ruskin (1819-1900), English essayist and critic.

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Citation: John van Wyhe, editor. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online. (

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