Im/personality: The Imaginary Portraits of Walter Pater

Max Saunders

in Self Impression

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579761
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722882 | DOI:
Im/personality: The Imaginary Portraits of Walter Pater

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter begins with Walter Pater as a key figure, representing a gateway from impressionism to modernism and beyond. It discusses the implications of Pater's impressionist aesthetics for autobiography and for modernist writers; and explores his investment in the form of the ‘Imaginary Portrait’ in literature, arguing that while Imaginary Portraits can be found in earlier writing, they become increasingly important for modernist engagements with life‐writing. The relation between Paterian subjectivity and Victorian subjectivism is discussed, together with his scepticism about the boundary between fact and imagination.

Keywords: imaginary portraits; Walter Pater; impressionism; modernism; impersonality; im/personality; fact; imagination; self; subjectivity; subjectivism; autobiography; life‐writing; form

Chapter.  21175 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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