Walter Pater (August 04, 1839 - July 30, 1894)
Born: 4th August, 1839
Died: 30th July, 1894
Nationality: English
Profession/Occupation: Critic
Region: England, Oxford
Notable works: "Marius the Epicurean"

Walter Pater Facts

Biography

Walter Pater, in full Walter Horatio Pater, (born August 4, 1839, Shadwell, London, England--died July 30, 1894, Oxford, Oxfordshire), English critic, essayist, and humanist whose advocacy of "art for art's sake" became a cardinal doctrine of the movement known as Aestheticism.

Pater was educated at King's School, Canterbury, and at Queen's College, Oxford, where he studied Greek philosophy under Benjamin Jowett. He then settled in Oxford and read with private pupils. In 1864 he was elected to a fellowship at Brasenose College. Pater's early intention to enter the church gave way at this time to a consuming interest in classical studies. Pater then began to write for the reviews, and his essays on Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, Pico della Mirandola, Michelangelo, and others were collected in 1873 as Studies in the History of the Renaissance (later called simply The Renaissance). His delicate, fastidious style and sensitive appreciation of Renaissance art in these essays made his reputation as a scholar and an aesthete, and he became the centre of a small group of admirers in Oxford. In the concluding essay in The Renaissance, Pater asserted that art exists for the sake of its beauty alone, and that it acknowledges neither moral standards nor utilitarian functions in its reason for being. These views brought Pater into an association with Algernon Charles Swinburne and with the Pre-Raphaelites.

Marius the Epicurean (1885) is his most substantial work. It is a philosophical romance in which Pater's ideal of an aesthetic and religious life is scrupulously and elaborately set forth. The setting is Rome in the time of Marcus Aurelius; but this is a thin disguise for the characteristically late-19th-century spiritual development of its main character. Imaginary Portraits (1887) are shorter pieces of philosophical fiction in the same mode. Appreciations (1889) is a return to the critical essay, this time largely on English subjects. In 1893 came Plato and Platonism, giving an extremely literary view of Plato and neglecting the logical and dialectical side of his philosophy. Pater's Greek Studies (1895), Miscellaneous Studies (1895), and Essays from The Guardian (privately printed, 1896; 1901) were published posthumously. Also published posthumously was his unfinished romance, Gaston de Latour (1896).

The primary influence on Pater's mind was his classical studies, coloured by a highly individual view of Christian devotion and pursued largely as a source of extremely refined artistic sensations. In his later critical writings Pater continued to focus on the innate qualities of works of art, in contrast to the prevailing tendency to evaluate them on the basis of their moral and educational value.

Pater's early influence was confined to a small circle in Oxford, but he came to have a widespread effect on the next literary generation. Oscar Wilde, George Moore, and the aesthetes of the 1890s were among his followers and show obvious and continual traces both of his style and of his ideas.

Top 26 Walter Pater quotes

Art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass.
Art
Frankly
Give
Highest
Moments
Nothing
Pass
Proposing
Quality
You
Your
A counted number of pulses only is given to us of a variegated, dramatic life. How may we see in them all that is to to be seen in them by the finest senses?
Counted
Dramatic
Finest
Given
How
Life
May
Number
Only
See
Seen
Senses
Them
Us
No account of the Renaissance can be complete without some notice of the attempt made by certain Italian scholars of the fifteenth century to reconcile Christianity with the religion of ancient Greece.
Account
Ancient
Attempt
Century
Certain
Christianity
Complete
Greece
Italian
Made
Notice
Reconcile
Religion
Renaissance
And the fifteenth century was an impassioned age, so ardent and serious in its pursuit of art that it consecrated everything with which art had to ad as a religious object.
Ad
Age
Ardent
Art
Century
Everything
Had
Object
Pursuit
Religious
Serious
Which
The Renaissance of the fifteenth century was, in many things, great rather by what it designed then by what it achieved.
Achieved
Century
Designed
Great
Many
Rather
Renaissance
Then
Things
A very intimate sense of the expressiveness of outward things, which ponders, listens, penetrates, where the earlier, less developed consciousness passed lightly by, is an important element in the general temper of our modern poetry.
Consciousness
Developed
Earlier
Element
General
Important
Intimate
Less
Lightly
Listens
Modern
Modern poetry
Our
Outward
That sense of a life in natural objects, which in most poetry is but a rhetorical artifice, was, then, in Wordsworth the assertion of what was for him almost literal fact.
Almost
Artifice
Assertion
Fact
Him
Life
Literal
Most
Natural
Objects
Poetry
Rhetorical
Sense
Then
Many attempts have been made by writers on art and poetry to define beauty in the abstract, to express it in the most general terms, to find some universal formula for it.
Abstract
Art
Attempts
Beauty
Been
Define
Express
Find
Formula
General
Made
Many
Most
Poetry
Such discussions help us very little to enjoy what has been well done in art or poetry, to discriminate between what is more and what is less excellent in them, or to use words like beauty, excellence, art, poetry, with a more precise meaning than they would otherwise have.
Art
Beauty
Been
Between
Discriminate
Discussions
Done
Enjoy
Excellence
Excellent
Has-been
Help
Less
Like
What is important, then, is not that the critic should possess a correct abstract definition of beauty for the intellect, but a certain kind of temperament, the power of being deeply moved by the presence of beautiful objects.
Abstract
Beautiful
Beauty
Being
Certain
Correct
Critic
Deeply
Definition
Important
Intellect
Kind
Moved
Objects
The various forms of intellectual activity which together make up the culture of an age, move for the most part from different starting-points, and by unconnected roads.
Activity
Age
Culture
Different
Forms
Intellectual
Make
Make up
Most
Move
Part
Roads
Together
Up
To regard all things and principles of things as inconstant modes or fashions has more and more become the tendency of modern thought.
All things
Become
Fashions
Modern
Modes
More
More and more
Principles
Regard
Tendency
Things
Thought
At first sight experience seems to bury us under a flood of external objects, pressing upon us with a sharp and importunate reality, calling us out of ourselves in a thousand forms of action.
Action
Bury
Calling
Experience
External
First
Flood
Forms
Objects
Ourselves
Out
Pressing
Reality
Seems
Experience, already reduced to a group of impressions, is ringed round for each one of us by that thick wall of personality through which no real voice has ever pierced on its way to us, or from us to that which we can only conjecture to be without.
Conjecture
Each
Each one
Ever
Experience
Group
Impressions
Only
Personality
Pierced
Real
Reduced
Round
Thick
The service of philosophy, of speculative culture, towards the human spirit, is to rouse, to startle it to a life of constant and eager observation.
Constant
Culture
Eager
Human
Human spirit
Life
Observation
Philosophy
Service
Speculative
Spirit
Startle
Towards
To burn always with this hard, gem-like flame, to maintain this ecstasy, is success in life.
Always
Burn
Ecstasy
Flame
Hard
Life
Maintain
Success
In a sense it might even be said that our failure is to form habits: for, after all, habit is relative to a stereotyped world, and meantime it is only the roughness of the eye that makes two persons, things, situations, seem alike.
After
Alike
Even
Eye
Failure
Form
Habit
Habits
Makes
Meantime
Might
Only
Our
Persons
Not to discriminate every moment some passionate attitude in those about us, and in the very brilliancy of their gifts some tragic dividing on their ways, is, on this short day of frost and sun, to sleep before evening.
About
Attitude
Before
Day
Discriminate
Dividing
Evening
Every
Frost
Gifts
Moment
Passionate
Short
Sleep
With this sense of the splendour of our experience and of its awful brevity, gathering all we are into one desperate effort to see and touch, we shall hardly have time to make theories about the things we see and touch.
About
Awful
Brevity
Desperate
Effort
Experience
Gathering
Hardly
Make
Our
See
Sense
Shall
Theories
Philosophical theories or ideas, as points of view, instruments of criticism, may help us to gather up what might otherwise pass unregarded by us.
Criticism
Gather
Help
Ideas
Instruments
May
Might
Otherwise
Pass
Philosophical
Points
Theories
Up
Us
One of the most beautiful passages of Rousseau is that in the sixth book of Confessions, where he describes the awakening in him of the literary sense. Of such wisdom, the poetic passion, the desire of beauty, the love of art for its own sake, has most.
Art
Awakening
Beautiful
Beauty
Book
Confessions
Desire
He
Him
Literary
Love
Most
Most beautiful
Own
Great passions may give us a quickened sense of life, ecstasy and sorrow of love, the various forms of enthusiastic activity, disinterested or otherwise, which comes naturally to many of us.
Activity
Disinterested
Ecstasy
Enthusiastic
Forms
Give
Great
Life
Love
Many
May
Naturally
Otherwise
Passions
For art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments' sake.
Art
Frankly
Give
Highest
Moments
Nothing
Pass
Proposing
Quality
Sake
Simply
Those
You
Your
Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end.
End
Experience
Fruit
Itself
All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music.
Art
Condition
Constantly
Music
Towards
With myself, how to pass time becomes sometimes the question - unavoidably, though it strikes me as a thing unspeakably sad in a life so short as ours.
Becomes
How
Life
Me
Myself
Ours
Pass
Question
Sad
Short
Sometimes
Strikes
Thing
Though

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