Ruskin on Penguins

When I begin to think at all I get into states of disgust and fury at the way the mob is going on (meaning by mob, chiefly Dukes, crown princes, and such like persons) that I choke ; and have to go to the British Museum and look at Penguins till I get cool. I find Penguins at present the only comfort in life. One feels everything in the world so sympathetically ridiculous; one can’t be angry when one looks at a Penguin.

– Letter to Charles Eliot Norton, 4 November 1860 [thanks, GC]

8 Comments


  1. What if the penguin was mad, though?

    Quote | Posted 13 September, 2009, 2:02 pm

  2. I now adore Ruskin.

    Quote | Posted 14 September, 2009, 2:43 pm

  3. Semi-philosophically interesting penguin joke apposite.

    Penguin walks into a bar. “Hey,” says the bartender, “you look like you’re wearing a tuxedo.”

    “What makes you think I’m not?” the penguin replies.

    Quote | Posted 15 September, 2009, 6:58 pm

  4. Where are the penguins in the British Museum? I’ve been there many times without noticing them, but perhaps they’ve gone by now…

    Quote | Posted 1 October, 2009, 8:29 pm

  5. I know understand why my girlfriend goes on about Penguins after I have done something annoying and she needs to visualise something else. This blog clearly is a help to domestic life as well as evertthing else!

    Hope all is well

    Quote | Posted 7 October, 2009, 8:36 am

  6. This sort of bonkersness is why Ruskin is wonderful.

    Quote | Posted 21 October, 2009, 6:07 pm

  7. I adore penguins! I am 36 and sleep with my stuffed animal penguins! Boyfriend often calls them “the wall of penquins.” I love Ruskin’s quote, so true. I oxen say “if having a bad day look at a penguin”

    Quote | Posted 28 January, 2010, 7:22 am

Leave a reply


6 × = eighteen


biannual