Dr Tristram Hunt on ‘Ruskin, Engels and the City’
The philosophies of Friedrich Engels and John Ruskin were both powerfully shaped by the Victorian city. In its filth, vulgarity, and rampant individualism, they found a telling symbol of all the failings of industrial capitalism. All that was wrong with laissez-faire society could be found in 1840s Manchester. But their competing visions of a socialist alternative entailed very different futures for city life: for Engels, modernity and suburbia; for Ruskin, preservation and urban density. In their blistering prose and inspiring polemics, they offered two ideals of civic socialism which continue to influence urban debate today.
For those who didn’t manage to get to the lecture, it is now available online at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/ruskin/Mikimoto/index.html