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Walter Horatio Pater

Anne Varty

in Victorian Literature

ISBN: 9780199799558
Published online March 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199799558-0051
Walter Horatio Pater

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Walter Pater, classicist and Oxford don, radical aesthetic philosopher, and consummate prose stylist, was immensely influential in his own day. His work fell into critical neglect during the first half of the 20th century, but starting in the 1970s the significance of his contributions began to be understood and from 1980 onward his life and work have been the subject of ever-increasing critical attention. His favorite literary form is the essay, and he shot to notorious prominence in 1873 when he published his first collection of essays, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (subsequently titled The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry). Here, he set out his aesthetic philosophy, championed “Art for Art’s sake,” questioned fundamental beliefs of Christianity and began to adjust traditional views of masculinity. Pater did not publish another book for twelve years, until his only completed novel Marius the Epicurean appeared in 1885, designed, he claimed, to answer some of the ethical objections his work had received. He continued to publish essays and short fiction until his death in 1893.

Article.  7213 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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