Walter Pater (1839-1894) was one of the most influential English authors of the nineteenth century. He contributed towards the definition of Aestheticism and the doctrine of art for art’s sake, which he famously characterised as the desire to burn always with a ‘hard gem-like flame’. Written in an idiosyncratic, complex, seductive style, which soon became fashionable, his essays and fictional writings range from classical antiquity to literary, art historical, and philosophical subjects. Pater taught classics in Oxford and lived a relatively secluded life with his two sisters. But his work caused controversy during his day and was a powerful source of inspiration for Decadence and Modernism.
The International Walter Pater Society aims to foster scholarly research on Pater and to promote a wider knowledge of his writings. It provides a worldwide network for scholars interested in Pater and, more broadly, in Aestheticism and the literature of the British fin de siècle. The society supports the academic journal Studies in Walter Pater and Aestheticism and organises regular conferences.