Walter Pater

(1839—1894) author and aesthete

Related Overviews

Aesthetic Movement

Oscar Wilde (1854—1900) writer

Matthew Arnold (1822—1888) poet, writer, and inspector of schools

Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837—1909) poet and literary reviewer

See all related overviews in Oxford Index » »


More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Literature


Quick Reference

(b London, 4 Aug. 1839; d Oxford, 30 July 1894).

English essayist and critic. A bachelor don at Brasenose College, Oxford, he lived uneventfully with his two spinster sisters and was the unlikely standard-bearer for Aestheticism, which set a supreme value upon the enjoyment of beauty. His best-known book is Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), which includes essays on Winckelmann, the then neglected Botticelli, and Leonardo, with his celebrated evocation of the Mona Lisa: ‘She is older than the rocks among which she sits.’ This volume (which concludes ‘To burn always with this hard gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life’), though attacked by some as unscholarly and morbid, had a profound influence on the undergraduates of the day and was acclaimed by Oscar Wilde as ‘the holy writ of beauty’.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

See all related reference entries in Oxford Index »

Works by Walter Pater