Walter Pater

Author: Walter Pater

Profile: Walter Horatio Pater better known as Walter Pater was an English critic, essayist and humanist. His ‘art for art’s sake’ advocacy became a cardinal doctrine of the Aestheticism movement. He was born in Shadwell, London, England and died in Oxford, Oxfordshire. He completed his education at King’s School, Canterbury and at Queen’s College, Oxford where he under Benjamin Jowett, he studied Greek. Later he settled in Oxford and read with private pupils. He got elected to a fellowship at Brasenose College in 1864. After gaining interest in classical studies he started writing reviews and essays on Pico della Mirandola, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli and others. He earned reputation as an aesthete and scholar with his fastidious and delicate style and sensitive appreciation of Renaissance art. In Oxford he gained a lot of admirers in the process.

In his early life Pater’s exposure was limited to a small circle in Oxford however later on he had a wider impact on the next literary generation. He had many popular followers including George Moore, Oscar Wilde and aesthetes of the 1890s who continued to show traces of both Pater’s ideas and style.

Writing style:

Classical studies was the main influence on Pater’s mind colored by a highly individual view of Christian devotion and looked at mainly as a source of artistic sensations that are extremely subtle. Later on he focused mainly on inherent qualities of art works in his critical writings in contrast to the existing tendency to evaluate them on the basis of their educational value and moral.

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Published Texts:

1873 – The Renaissance

1885 – Marius the Epicurean

1887 – Imaginary Portraits

1889 – Appreciations

1893 – Plato and Platonism

1895 – Greek Studies

1895 – Miscellaneous Studies

1896 – The Guardian

1896 – Gaston de Latour

Awards and Acknowledgements:

1894 – Honorary LL.D

1894 – University of Glasgow