It is difficult to express the degree of degradation into which the operatic amusement is sinking the European mind - First you have every possible means of excitement - music - passion - acting of the coarsest and most violent kind - glaring scenery - everything that can excite in the highest degree - then, the people, who are rich and idle - take this excitement every night - till it ceases to be an excitement any [more?]But they still go, because it is fashionable -[...]
the actors - unable to draw attention by just or quiet play - seek for it by rant - and only obtain it - momentarily - by shrieking or performing miracles of pirouettes - so the entire school of dramatic writing, music - and dancing, is degraded lower and lower - and - one evil reacting on another, the final result of the general corruption is still unseen - and to come.
Dearest love to my mother.
Thus John Ruskin in 1852. I like opera in a popcorn-and-jujubes way myself.
The most striking letter in the book so far is Fanny Burney's description of having a mastectomy in 1812 - no anaesthetic! - but she lived until 1840. It doesn't excerpt as well as Ruskin, though.So wrote clew in History.