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.

chapter |11 pages


ByBénédicte Coste, Anne-Florence Gillard-Estrada, Martine Lambert-Charbonnier, Charlotte Ribeyrol

part I|54 pages

Pater’s Modern Involvement

chapter 1|22 pages

Walter Pater and the New Media

The “Child” in the House
ByLaurel Brake

chapter 2|14 pages

Privileging the Later Pater

The Choice of Copy-Text for the Collected Works
ByLesley Higgins, David Latham

chapter 3|16 pages

Habitus and the Multifaceted Self

Are There Different Paters?
ByMartine Lambert-Charbonnier

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
ByAdam Lee

chapter 5|20 pages

The Loveliness of Things and the Sorrow of the World

Art and Ethics in Pater and George Eliot
ByThomas Albrecht

chapter 6|16 pages

A Great Chain of Curiosity

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

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”
ByJoseph Bristow

chapter 8|18 pages

Walter Pater’s Dialectical History of (Same-Sex) Desire

Queer Conclusions
ByMichael F. Davis

chapter 9|13 pages

“Unimpassioned Passion”

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

part IV|49 pages

Interart Poetics

chapter 10|19 pages

“What came of him?”

Change and Continuity in Pater’s Portraits
ByLene Østermark-Johansen

chapter 11|18 pages

Walter Pater’s Lives of Philosophers

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

chapter 12|10 pages

Reading the Mona Lisa

ByPascal Aquien