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Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls

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A twentieth-century intellectual of the first rank presents the case for the nineteenth-century aesthetician whose elegant subversions delivered us to modernism. Walter Pater 1839-1894 was an obscure Oxford don until 1873, when his first book, The Renaissance, exposed his argument favoring sensation over thought and, in doing so, ignited a hard, gem-like flame. "Say not what it is but what it makes you see - or feel" is not something Pater ever said, but it will suffice as an encapsulation of an attitude that ...
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New York 1995 H Hardcover F First Edition Very Good + in J Very Good jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?" Tall A very good+ copy in very good dust jacket with light rubbing and scuffing to ... jacket; minor bumping to jacket edges; creasing to inner jacket flap. Read more Show Less

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1995 1st Edition Very Good DONOGHUE, DENIS. Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls. Alfred A. Knopf, 1995. 364 pp., hdcvr 1st ed., clean xlib copy, lacking frnt endppr.8.50.

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New York 1995 Hard cover First edition. Fine in fine dust jacket. A Fine Copy in Fine Dustjacket Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 364 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls

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Overview

A twentieth-century intellectual of the first rank presents the case for the nineteenth-century aesthetician whose elegant subversions delivered us to modernism. Walter Pater 1839-1894 was an obscure Oxford don until 1873, when his first book, The Renaissance, exposed his argument favoring sensation over thought and, in doing so, ignited a hard, gem-like flame. "Say not what it is but what it makes you see - or feel" is not something Pater ever said, but it will suffice as an encapsulation of an attitude that moved the authority of a work of art from the object to the subject, subsequently outraging the defenders of perceived truth of his time and making Pater himself a figure of controversy and even ridicule. Substituting sensationalism for sensation and reading Pater's claim for hedonism, or pleasures the soul might savor, as outright decadence, Pater's detractors far outnumbered and outranked his followers including his fellow Oxonian and most notorious devotee, Oscar Wilde. But ever since Pater has proved, at least in the high arts, the decisive victor of the revolution he set into motion.

Donoghue, critic par excellence, tells us who's to blame for Kafka, Joyce, Beckett, Stevens, Bernhard, McCarthy and the rest of the "Wild Ones"--namely, Walter Pater, a reclusive, elusive Oxford don who set in motion the revolution called Modernism.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Cahners\\Publishers_Weekly
The reputation of English critic and essayist Pater 1839-1894 grew after he published Studies in the History of Renaissance Art 1873, in which he advocated an appreciation of art for its intrinsic value "Art for Art's Sake" rather than for its moral or educational content. In this prodigiously researched scholarly study of Pater's life and work, Donoghue, University Professor at New York University, argues that Pater also adjusted his prose style to aesthetic interests and, in doing so, was a precursor of modernism. According to the author, Pater's tone can be felt in the later works of Joyce, Eliot, Woolf and other major modern authors. A homosexual, Pater traveled in the same literary circles as Oscar Wilde but was not as daring or outspoken. In his books of criticism Appreciations, 1889, Pater based his evaluations on the aesthetic experience aroused by the prose or poetic work he was critiquing. An interesting and informed contribution to literary studies.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The reputation of English critic and essayist Pater (1839-1894) grew after he published Studies in the History of Renaissance Art (1873), in which he advocated an appreciation of art for its intrinsic value (``Art for Art's Sake'') rather than for its moral or educational content. In this prodigiously researched scholarly study of Pater's life and work, Donoghue, University Professor at New York University, argues that Pater also adjusted his prose style to aesthetic interests and, in doing so, was a precursor of modernism. According to the author, Pater's tone can be felt in the later works of Joyce, Eliot, Woolf and other major modern authors. A homosexual, Pater traveled in the same literary circles as Oscar Wilde but was not as daring or outspoken. In his books of criticism (Appreciations, 1889), Pater based his evaluations on the aesthetic experience aroused by the prose or poetic work he was critiquing. An interesting and informed contribution to literary studies. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Author and critic Donoghue (The Old Moderns, LJ 3/1/94; American and English literature, New York Univ.) writes of essayist/novelist/aesthetician Walter Pater that he is audible in virtually every attentive modern writer. Donoghue believes that Pater added not new ideas but a tone to literature, a style using the ideas of other writers as the impetus for his own writing, which in turn has been misunderstood and patronized. The Pater about whom Donoghue writes never intended to dissent but rather stood aside, challenging if not interrogating the laws of culture and making readers and other writers a little less sure of themselves. Pater was physically ugly and longed not to be, a homosexual in love with male beauty and all beautiful things yet ever aware of their transience-all of which influenced his writing. The latter part of the book analyzes Pater's work and is academic in approach but at the same time intimate and highly readable. Recommended for academic and larger public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/94.]-Robert L. Kelly, Fort Wayne Community Schs., Ind.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780679437536
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/23/1995
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 6.59 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.26 (d)

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