Reflecting Walter Pater’s diverse engagements with literature, the visual arts, history, and philosophy, this collection of essays explores new interdisciplinary perspectives engaging readers and scholars alike to revisit methodologies, intertextualities, metaphysical positions, and stylistic features in the works of the Victorian essayist. A revised contextual portrait of Pater in Victorian culture questions representations of the detached aesthete. Current editorial and biographical projects show Pater as fully responsive to the emergence of modern consumer culture and the changes in readership in Britain and the United States. New critical views of rarely studied texts enhance the image of Pater as a cosmopolitan aesthete dialoguing with contemporary culture. Conceptual analysis of his texts brings new light to the aesthetic paradox embodied by Pater, between artistic detachment and immersion in the Heraclitean flux of life. Finally, aestheticism is redefined as proposing new artistic and linguistic synthesis by merging art forms and embracing interart poetics.
List of Figures
Bénédicte Coste, Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada, Martine Lambert-Charbonnier, Charlotte Ribeyrol
Part I: Pater’s Modern Involvement: New Editorial and Biographical Approaches
1 Walter Pater and the new Media: the "child" in the house, Laurel Brake
2 Privileging the Later Pater: The Choice of Copy-Text for the Collected Works,
Lesley Higgins and David Latham
3 Habitus and the Multifaceted Self: are there different Paters?
Part II: Intertextualities: The Aesthete and Contemporary Culture
4 Trace, race and grace: The influence of Ernest Renan’s Souvenirs d’enfance et de jeunesse on Pater’s Gaston de Latour
5 The Loveliness of Things and the Sorrow of the World: Art and Ethics in Pater and George Eliot
6 A Great Chain of Curiosity: Pater’s "Sir Thomas Browne" and its Nineteenth-Century British Context
Part III: Modern Interactions: Aestheticism, Desire and Artistic Detachment
7 "What an interesting period… is this we are in!" Walter Pater and the Synchronization of the "Aesthetic Life"
8 A Dialectical History of the Subject of Same-Sex Desire: Queer Conclusions
Michael F. Davis
9 "Unimpassioned Passion’: Inner Excess and Exterior Restraint in Pater’s Rhetoric of Affect
Part IV: Interart Poetics: The Art of the Portrait
10 "What came of him?" Change and Continuity in Pater’s Portraits
11 Walter Pater’s Lives of Philosophers: Inversions of the Aesthetic Life in "Coleridge’s Writings" and "Sebastian van Storck"
12 Reading the Mona Lisa
Notes on Contributors
"Those attempting to analyse Pater need to be able to write with clarity and precision themselves [...] this is achieved throughout the volume [...] Both the editors and the contributors deserve praise for producing a volume in which a master of literary style has been written about with both insight and elegance."
- James Downs, University of Exeter, BAVS Newsletter