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© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Walter Pater: Selected full-text books and articles

Walter Pater, a Life Remembered By R. M. Seiler University of Calgary Press, 1987
FREE! Imaginary Portraits By Walter Pater Macmillan & Co., 1910
The Aesthetic of Walter Pater By Ruth C. Child The Macmillan Company, 1940
The Sensible Spirit: Walter Pater and the Modernist Paradigm By F. C. McGrath University of South Florida Press, 1986
Controversial Aspects of Pater's "Style" By 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 By 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 By 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 By Jesse Matz Cambridge University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Pater's Homoerotic Impression"
Promises, Promises: Essays on Literature and Psychoanalysis By Adam Phillips Basic Books, 2001
Librarian’s tip: "Appreciating Pater" begins on p. 148
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