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Conditions for CriticismAuthority, Knowledge, and Literature in the Late Nineteenth Century$
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Ian Small

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198122418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198122418.001.0001

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Walter Pater

Walter Pater

(p.91) 4 Walter Pater
Conditions for Criticism

Ian Small

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines Walter Pater's career during a time when literary critics faced a serious crisis of authority. It evaluates Pater's first book, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873) as well as the criticisms it received. It presents a spectrum of quoted material which in fact comprises a large proportion of the novel's overall content. It notes that Pater's principal intellectual concern was to engage with the concepts of textual and historiographical authority. It discusses how Pater was attempting to undertake the kind of critical enterprise which Grant Allen had insisted on a decade earlier. However, this was no longer possible. In Marius the Epicurean and Plato and Platonism, Pater was trying to write works in which and for which authority existed in the author alone.

Keywords:   Walter Pater, Renaissance, Grant Allen, Marius the Epicurean, Plato and Platonism

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