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 thoughts on “Ruskin on Penguins”

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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”

  4. My great grandfather Benjamin Creswick was a protege of Ruskin’s he came to Ruskin’s attention while visiting the Walkley museum st up for the working men of Sheffield in 1875. My great grandfather loved his mentor and his sculpture was inspired by his ‘Dear Master’. I came through this quotation to understand the delightful and human side of the great man and to understand the love which lasted a lifetime.

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