Oxford £8.99 (193pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Studies in the History of the Renaissance, By Walter Pater
Friday 23 July 2010
If he is remembered at all, Pater is known for his influence on Oscar Wilde. In his introduction to this "incendiary" text of 1873, Matthew Beaumont describes it as being seen in the "bourgeois imagination" as "the literary equivalent of Zuleika Dobson".
It is hard today to see how Pater's book was regarded as a fatal temptation towards limp-wristed aestheticism, though it has many arresting passages. Of Botticelli's Venus, Pater ponders, "You might think that the sorrow in her face was at the thought of the whole long day of love to come."
But not everything in Pater is ethereal. We learn that his most famous phrase, "to burn with this hard gem-like flame [is success in life]", derived from an article entitled about chemistry.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture