Recent Scholarship on Walter Pater: ‘Antithetical Scholar of Understanding's End’

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This essay traces the principal currents in Walter Pater scholarship from the early 1990s to its present and future directions. It is organized into a discussion of three broad critical trends which, in this period, have redefined the field: queer studies, interdisciplinary studies and comparative literary relations. Through the discussion of these interlinking approaches I will argue that recent critical modes offer a rich new language with which to understand Pater, the ‘high priest of English aestheticism’. Each grappling in various ways with the problem of how to grasp, locate and define this ‘antithetical scholar of understandings end’, they address Pater's repressed homosexuality, his indefinable genre and critical location, amongst his other indeterminacies. This essay considers the contributions and balances of these perspectives, as it asks whether they really do come close to explicating this most inexplicable of writers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-423
Number of pages17
JournalLiterature Compass
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2008

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2008 The Author.


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