Edited Collections

Gillard-Estrada, Anne-Florence, Lambert-Charbonnier, Martine, and Ribeyrol, Charlotte Eds. Testing New Opinions and Courting New Impressions: New Perspectives on Walter Pater. Abingdon-on-Thames: Routledge, 2018.

Clements, Elicia, and Higgins, Lesley J. Eds. Victorian Aesthetic Conditions: Pater Across the Arts. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

The product of a conference held at Rutgers University in 2006. Focuses on Pater’s engagements with different artistic media and his efforts to theorize the distinctions and continuities between them. Divided into three sections: ‘Pater and Contemporary Visualities’, ‘Pater and the Dynamic Arts’, and ‘Pater and the Practice of Writing’. Section one includes Jonah Siegel’s essay on Pater and nineteenth-century museum culture, which compares Pater’s and Ruskin’s responses to Raphael; J. B. Bullen’s on Pater’s oblique responses to contemporary painting, particularly works by Burne-Jones and Solomon; Lesley Higgins’s on the ‘intertextual presences’ of Corot and Whistler in Pater’s work and the institutional contexts of nineteenth century painting; and Colin Cruise’s on Pater’s and Simeon Solomon’s mutual influence and common use of allegory to explore homoerotic desire. Section two includes Kenneth Daley’s essay on Pater’s use of myth and ‘notional’ ecphrasis in his imaginary portrait, ‘Denys l’Auxerrois’; Lene Østermark-Johansen’s on Pater’s tactile imagination and his theorization of the relationship between sculpture and writing; Norman Kelvin’s on the relationship between photography and the concept of the portrait in Pater’s and Wilde’s works; Carolyn Williams’s on how Pater might be understood as a film theorist avant la lettre; Elicia Clements’s on the relationship between music and the ideal of aesthetic community in Pater’s ‘School of Giorgione’ essay and Marius the Epicurean; and Andrew Eastham’s on the importance of the theatre and concepts of theatricality to Pater’s aestheticism. Section three includes Matthew Potolsky’s essay on Pater’s conceptualization of the politics of taste and community in Gaston de Latour; Kate Hext’s on Pater’s concept of bildung and his debts to Friedrich Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man (1794); and Laurel Brake’s on the market conditions that shaped Pater’s late turn to novel-writing.

Bann, Stephen. Ed. The Reception of Walter Pater in Europe. London: Continuum, 2004.

A collection of essays that explore how Pater’s work was received, translated, and published across Europe. Includes a timeline of Pater’s European reception by Stefano Evangelista, and an introduction by Stephen Bann. The first three essays chart Pater’s reception in Italy. Benedetta Bini discusses his place in the literary culture of fin de siècle Italyanalyzing the influence of Vernon Lee and Enrico Nencioni in drawing attention to Pater’s work and Gabriele d’Annunzio’s responses to it. Maurizio Ascari studies the impact of The Renaissance upon Italian art criticism between the fin de siècle and the Second World War. Elisa Bizzotto provides an overview of Pater’s reception in Italy and discusses its relationship to the development of English literary studies in the country, particularly the powerful influence exerted by the scholar Mario Praz. The next two essays focus on Pater’s French reception: Emily Eells analyzes the reasons why Pater’s work was largely ignored in France until the 1920s, and Bénédicte Coste gives an account of Pater’s reputation in French academe. Three essays on Pater’s German reception follow: Wolfgang Iser discusses Pater’s place as a respected but little-read figure in German scholarly debates about literature, and the importance of the Austrian poet and playwright Hugo von Hofmannsthal in establishing Pater’s reputation in the German-speaking world; Ulrike Stamm focuses on Hofmannsthal’s elective affinity with Pater; and Martina Lauster examines an essay on Walter Pater written by the conservative Jewish-German man of letters, Rudolf Borchardt, in 1939. Mihály Szegedy Maszák provides an overview of the Hungarian response to Pater. Martin Procházka traces how Pater’s name became prominent in Czech culture in the early twentieth-century owing to his popularity among the second wave of Czech decadent writers, notably Miloš Marten. Piotr Juszkiewicz argues that the vicissitudes of Pater’s reputation in Poland can be understood in terms of the country’s shifting response to the concept of individuality, and gives particular attention to Pater’s reception during the epoch of ‘Young Poland’ (from the late 1890s to 1918). Maria Teresa Malafaia and Jorge Miguel Bastos da Silva discuss Pater’s apparent neglect in Portugal and Fernando Pessoa’s translation of passages from Pater’s ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ in 1924. Jacqueline A. Hurtley gives an account of translations of Pater’s work made in Barcelona during the 1930s and 1940s, and situates them in the context of efforts by Catalan intellectuals to establish their own identity and prestige.

Brake, Laurel, Higgins, Lesley, and Williams, Carolyn. Eds. Walter Pater: Transparencies of Desire. Greensboro: University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

Introductory essay by James Eli Adams which reflects on the state of scholarship on Pater and his importance to the contemporary study of literary criticism, modernism, art, gender, and sexuality. Angela Leighton’s essay considers modern critical suspicion of the ideology of the ‘aesthetic’ and argues that Pater’s work destabilizes the distinctions between text and context, aesthetic and historical conditions. Laurel Brake’s essay focuses on Pater’s ‘late’, post-1885 work, particularly his Imaginary Portraits, and examines his strategies for inscribing male-male desire in the wake of the Labouchère Amendment and in the context of scandals over homosexuality and debates about censorship in the same period. Lesley Higgins’s essay examines the homophobia underlying the modernist tendency to conflate Pater’s work with Wilde’s and to trivialize his work, with particular attention to T. S Eliot’s disavowal of his influence. Stephen Bann explores Pater’s somewhat subdued reception in France, suggesting that his Marius the Epicurean might have influenced Marguérite Yourcenar and Marcel Proust, and detailing Charles Du Bos’s championship of his work. Robert Vilain analyzes Pater’s popularity among the literati in fin-de-siècle Germany and Austria, attributing it a confluence of Anglophilia, a tendency toward a cosmopolitan mode of aestheticism, and a revival of interest in the Renaissance. Jeffrey Wallen’s essay argues that Pater’s work deploys a physiological vocabulary in order to explore the operations of influence between persons and texts. Shawn Malley analyzes Pater’s Hellenism in his late work, particularly his response to Charles Newton’s discoveries at Cnidus and his move toward more archaeological and anthropological understandings of the legacy of ancient Greece. Stefano Evangelista situates Pater’s writings on Greek myth in relation to the Romanticism of Max Müller’s philology and P. B. Shelley’s poetry. Paul Tucker compares Pater’s and Ruskin’s writings on Botticelli, particularly their mutual dependence on Giorgio Vasari as an authoritative source and their contrasting responses to the idea that Botticelli’s painting exemplifies a revival of Greek art and culture in fifteenth-century Florence. Jonah Siegel’s essay situates Pater’s conceptions of artistic schools and reputations in relation to a shift towards more stringent practices of attribution among art historians in the nineteenth century. Rachel Teukolsky focuses on the political dimensions of Pater’s aestheticism, situating his ‘School of Giorgione’ essay in relation to contemporary debates in the art world, particularly the contests between popular and scientific modes of art criticism and the opening of the Grosvenor Gallery in 1877. Maureen Moran analyses Pater’s Marius the Epicurean in relation to the subgenre of Victorian historical novels, the ‘historical conversion romance’, which foregrounds not only religious conflicts but anxieties about gender and sexuality. Matthew Kaiser reads Marius the Epicurean as a subversion of the conservative imperatives of the bildungsroman form and an effort to revive a Platonic ideal of seductive pedagogy and self-discovery. Martine Lambert-Charbonnier suggests that Pater evolved the genre of the imaginary portrait as part of his investment in ecphrasis as a principle of composition and form of historical analysis. Elisa Bizzotto provides a genealogy of genre of the imaginary portrait, suggesting it reflects Pater’s interest in ecphrasis, the popularity of the short story form as well as of biography and autobiography in the late Victorian period, and the key aestheticist theme of the confusion of art with life. Phyllis James traces the influence of Pater’s imaginary portrait genre upon W. B. Yeats and Olivia Shakespear. Jacques Khalip focuses on Pater’s figurations of the disciplined and desiring body, particularly in relation to anxieties over artistic productivity and the Victorian repression of eroticism between men. Kit Andrews reads Pater’s work alongside Walter Benjamin’s meditations on history, politics, and the aesthetic, and argues that Pater’s ideal ‘diaphanous’ type of aesthetic personality is inscribed with his ambivalent attraction to moments of revolutionary political change. Michael Davis suggests the limitations of Foucauldian readings of Pater’s work and argues that Pater should be recognized as a modern queer theorist in his own right. Megan Becker-Leckrone suggests that contemporary critical debates over Pater’s legacy are partly anticipated by Pater himself, and demonstrates that he possessed a peculiarly subtle understanding of the instabilities of critical interpretation.

Brake, Laurel and Small, Ian. Eds. Pater in the 1990s. Greensboro: ELT Press, 1991.

Gathers together essays based upon papers delivered at the international Pater conference at Queen’s College, Oxford, in 1988. A foreword by Linda Dowling suggests that Pater scholarship is shifting toward New Historicism and away from formalist criticism. Laurel Brake’s and Ian Small’s introduction discusses new critical approaches to Pater and observes that his often-disparaged ‘subjectivism’ and ‘relativism’ can be evaluated more positively in the light of postmodernism. Billie Inman’s essay uncovers evidence that Pater’s career at Oxford was partially stymied by Benjamin Jowett, who disapproved of Pater’s homoerotic relationship with a Balliol student, William Money Hardinge. She also suggests that the scandal over his affair with Hardinge profoundly marked Pater’s psychology and subsequent writing. Gerald Monsman’s and Ian Small’s essays discuss the complexities of editing Pater’s work; Monsman discusses his experience of editing Gaston de Latour, and Small uses Pater’s work to demonstrate the interplay between the practical difficulties of editing and larger theoretical questions about literary texts. Brake’s essay explores Pater’s critical engagements with Arnold and Wilde, and contextualizes these in relation to the culture and material conditions of Victorian journalism and book publishing. The next three essays chart Pater’s intertextual and/or personal relations with other writers: J. P. Ward studies the influence of Wordsworth upon Pater’s work; Lesley Higgins re-assesses the relationship between Pater and Gerard Manley Hopkins; and F. C. McGrath examines Joyce’s parodies of Pater in Ulysses and Pater’s influence upon Joyce’s stylistic experimentation. Paul Tucker’s essay reevaluates the relationship between the ethical and the aesthetic in Pater’s work. Richard Dellamora’s essay argues that recent attempts by J. Hillis Miller to claim Pater as a forerunner of deconstruction overlook the extent to which his work is inflected by homoerotic desire. Hayden Ward examines Pater’s late, unfinished essay on Pascal as a means of understanding his late religious views and his restless, revisionary relationship to his own body of work. J. B. Bullen’s essay examines Pater’s attraction to and conceptualization of the Renaissance, teasing out some of the connections between his mode of aesthetic historiography and his choice of subject. M. F. Moran analyses Pater’s handling of myth in ‘Denys l’Auxerrois’ and ‘Apollo in Picady’. Bernard Richards discusses Pater’s attitudes to Gothic architecture in his ‘Some Great Churches in France’ (1894) as well as his more scattered reflections on the subject. Anne Varty elucidates the philosophical and literary sources of Pater’s imagery in his earliest extant essay, ‘Diaphaneitè’. Jane Spirit places Pater’s representations of Montaigne and Giordano Bruno in Gaston de Latour in the context of wider nineteenth-century debates over their legacies.

Dodd, Philip. Ed. Walter Pater: An Imaginative Sense of Fact. London: Frank Cass and Company, 1981.

Introduction by Gerald Monsman, which discusses Pater’s ‘imaginative sense of fact’ – that is, his tendency to turn the ‘objective givens of experience’ into reflections of his own subjectivity. Billie Inman’s essay demonstrates the densely allusive nature of Pater’s ‘Conclusion’, and clarifies its submerged references or debts to Aristippus of Cyrene, Baudelaire, Berkeley, Fichte, Hegel, Hume, Huxley, Plato, Renan, Spencer, and Tyndall. Ian Small’s essay reflects upon how Pater’s work illuminates more general contradictions and conflicts in both modern and nineteenth-century criticism. Laurel Brake’s essay discusses the limitations of the two key, early biographies of Pater – A. C. Benson’s (1906) and Thomas Wright’s (1907) – and situates them in relation to late Victorian debates about the nature and purpose of biography, as well as to the particular problems associated with representing Pater’s life. Barrie Bullen’s essay analyzes Ruskin’s and Pater’s contrasting perspectives on Michelangelo. There is a forum on the possibility of a new edition of Pater’s works, which consists of brief essays by Sharon Bassett, Robert Seiler, and Hayden Ward. The collection concludes with Robert Seiler’s assessment of Pater scholarship in the 1970s.