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.
"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
This series publishes monographs and essay collections on literature, art, and culture in the context of the diverse aesthetic, political, social, technological, and scientific innovations that arose among the Victorians and Modernists. Viable topics include, but are not limited to, artistic and cultural debates and movements; influential figures and communities; and agitations and developments regarding subjects such as animals, commodification, decadence, degeneracy, democracy, desire, ecology, gender, nationalism, the paranormal, performance, public art, sex, socialism, spiritualities, transnationalism, and the urban. Studies that address continuities between the Victorians and Modernists are welcome. Work on recent responses to the periods such as NeoVictorian novels, graphic novels, and film will also be considered.