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For many years Ruskin has seemed, at best, a conservative thinker on gender roles. At worst, his lecture "On Queens' Gardens" from "Sesame and Lilies" was read as a "locus classicus" of Victorian patriarchal oppression. These essays challenge such assumptions, presenting a wide ranging re-evaluation of Ruskin's place in relation to gender, and offering new perspectives on continuing debates on issues of gender in the Victorian period, and in our own.
DINAH BIRCH is Stirling Boyd Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Trinity College, Oxford, and a University Lecturer in English. She has recently edited a selection from Ruskin's Fors Clavigera and Ruskin and the Dawn of the Modern. - FRANCES O'GORMAN is Lecturer in Victorian Literature in the School of English at the University of Leeds. He has written widely on Ruskin, including John Ruskin and Late Ruskin: New Contexts.