Walter Pater

Pater, Walter Horatio

Walter Horatio Pater (pā´tər), 1839–94, English essayist and critic. In 1864 he was elected a fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, and he subsequently led an austere and uneventful life. An exemplar of Victorian aestheticism and a proponent of the doctrine of "art for art's sake," Pater believed that the ideal life consisted of cultivating an appreciation for the beautiful and the profound. His first work, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873), established his reputation. Then followed his masterpiece, Marius the Epicurean (1885), a study of the intellectual and spiritual development of a young Roman in the time of Marcus Aurelius. His other works include Imaginary Portraits (1887); Appreciations (1889); Plato and Platonism (1893); The Child in the House (1894); and two posthumous publications, Greek Studies (1895) and Gaston de Latour (1896). His style is noted for its precision, subtlety, and refinement.


See biography by T. Wright (2 vol., 1907; repr. 1969); critical biography by D. Donoghue (1995); studies by R. Crinkley (1970), F. C. McGrath (1986), and C. Williams (1990).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Walter Pater: Selected full-text books and articles

Walter Pater, a Life Remembered
R. M. Seiler.
University of Calgary Press, 1987
Walter Pater: Individualism and Aesthetic Philosophy
Kate Hext.
Edinburgh University Press, 2013
FREE! Imaginary Portraits
Walter Pater.
Macmillan & Co., 1910
FREE! Plato and Platonism: A Series of Lectures
Walter Pater.
MacMillan, 1893
FREE! The Renaissance: Studies in Art and Poetry
Walter Pater.
MacMillan, 1912
The Aesthetic of Walter Pater
Ruth C. Child.
The Macmillan Company, 1940
The Sensible Spirit: Walter Pater and the Modernist Paradigm
F. C. McGrath.
University of South Florida Press, 1986
Patterns of Epiphany: From Wordsworth to Tolstoy, Pater, and Barrett Browning
Martin Bidney.
Southern Illinois University Press, 1997
Hebrew and Hellene in Victorian England: Newman, Arnold, and Pater
David J. Delaura.
University of Texas Press, 1969
The Romance of Interpretation: Visionary Criticism from Pater to de Man
Daniel T. O'Hara.
Columbia University Press, 1985
Controversial Aspects of Pater's "Style"
Coates, John.
Papers on Language & Literature, Vol. 40, No. 4, Fall 2004
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Masculine Desire: The Sexual Politics of Victorian Aestheticism
Richard Dellamora.
University of North Carolina Press, 1990
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Pater at Oxford in 1864: Old Mortality and 'Diaphaneite,'" Chap. 5 "Arnold, Winckelmann, and Pater," and Chap. 9 "Theorizing Homophobia: Analysis of Myth in Pater"
Dandies and Desert Saints: Styles of Victorian Masculinity
James Eli Adams.
Cornell University Press, 1995
Librarian’s tip: Chap. Five "Gentleman, Dandy, Priest: Masks and Masculinities in Pater's Aestheticism"
Literary Impressionism and Modernist Aesthetics
Jesse Matz.
Cambridge University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Pater's Homoerotic Impression"
Promises, Promises: Essays on Literature and Psychoanalysis
Adam Phillips.
Basic Books, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Appreciating Pater" begins on p. 148
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