What does 'Ruskin on acid' mean in this paragraph?

Reply Tue 20 Feb, 2018 06:44 pm
The below paragraph describes the river. The author compares the river
to a person in the middle age. I want to know the meaning of "Ruskin on
acid." Here, does Ruskin refer to the real person's name, perhaps the famous English critic, John Ruskin? Please help me understant the meaning in this context.

: In the middle age of the river, the faces flatten for a while,
the hair recedes, and the voice, though never lugubrious, sometimes
pauses so that the river can draw breath. Then, before the
final few furlongs to the sea, it is menopausal, disgraceful crisis:
Ruskin on acid; all hanging greenery; soft focus from the spray
–- it’'s too much

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Reply Tue 20 Feb, 2018 07:14 pm
Yes, the paragraph is referring to

1) Ruskin's particular style of portraying nature.
2) LSD, a hallucinogenic drug known colloquially as 'acid'.

The phrase "Ruskin on acid" is the kind of crazy, exaggerated scene you would expect from Ruskin were he taking drugs.

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Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2018 01:58 am
The phrase 'on acid,' is a somewhat clichéd term. It literally refers to the hallucinogenic LSD. It's saying this is what Ruskin's watercolours would have looked like if he'd painted them after taking LSD.

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Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2018 03:01 am
Why use Ruskin ? I suggest the reference to 'menopausal' and 'disgraceful' imply Ruskin's known aversion to female sexuality and bodily function. This evokes a picture of Ruskin on a 'bad acid trip' in which his emotional experience (re: his wedding night) falters or is masked repressively. The advancing age of the river, or woman (or Eve's seductive serpent ?) loses its youthful beauty and leaves only its unattractive aspects.
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Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2018 07:53 am
Can you give a source for this paragraph?

It's really very over-written, isn't it?
Reply Wed 21 Feb, 2018 12:37 pm
PUNKEY wrote:

Can you give a source for this paragraph?

It's really very over-written, isn't it?

A Google "exact words" (text enclosed in quotes) search reveals that it is from a book called "Being a Beast" by Charles Foster. It's in Google Books. The Financial Times called it a "strange kind of masterpiece".

A review:

Being a Beast: Adventures Across the Species Divide
Charles Foster. Metropolitan, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-1-62779-633-0

"Nature writing has generally been about humans striding colonially around," writes Foster, a qualified veterinarian and research fellow at Oxford University. He instead opts for the four-legged approach, writing about nature through his experience mimicking the lifestyles of badgers, otters, foxes, red deer, and swifts. His book is an extraordinary account of his time spent traversing the forest near his home, digging into the earth to build an underground sett to live in as a badger (which also involved eating lots of earthworms), enlisting six children to help replicate the otter's use of dung to mark territory (and the otter's extraordinary metabolic rate), and substituting himself in lieu of a deer being hunted by hounds. In lesser hands this could come off as trite or patronizing, but Foster is quick to acknowledge his shortcomings and errors in perspective regarding his project, and he projects a healthy sense of humor; his account of encountering a police officer while attempting to recreate a fox's experience by sleeping next to a busy road is particularly rich. This approach, along with his willingness to address and avoid the temptation for anthropomorphism, makes his book interesting and informative.
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