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.

part I|54 pages

Pater’s Modern Involvement

chapter 1|22 pages

Walter Pater and the New Media

The “Child” in the House

chapter 2|14 pages

Privileging the Later Pater

The Choice of Copy-Text for the Collected Works

chapter 3|16 pages

Habitus and the Multifaceted Self

Are There Different Paters?

part II|58 pages


chapter 4|20 pages

Trace, Race, and Grace

The Influence of Ernest Renan’s Souvenirs d’enfance et de jeunesse on Pater’s Gaston de Latour

chapter 5|20 pages

The Loveliness of Things and the Sorrow of the World

Art and Ethics in Pater and George Eliot

chapter 6|16 pages

A Great Chain of Curiosity

Pater’s “Sir Thomas Browne” and its Nineteenth-Century British Context

part III|54 pages

Modern Interactions

chapter 7|21 pages

“What an interesting period . . . is this we are in!”

Walter Pater and the Synchronization of the “Æsthetic Life”

chapter 9|13 pages

“Unimpassioned Passion”

Inner Excess and Exterior Restraint in Pater’s Rhetoric of Affect

part IV|49 pages

Interart Poetics

chapter 10|19 pages

“What came of him?”

Change and Continuity in Pater’s Portraits

chapter 11|18 pages

Walter Pater’s Lives of Philosophers

Inversions of the Aesthetic Life in “Coleridge’s Writings” and “Sebastian van Storck”

chapter 12|10 pages

Reading the Mona Lisa