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.
And why are 'southern' ways of speaking spreading north?
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Arts & Ents blogs
The 50 Best Christmas songs: Bells continue to ring for the Pogues' 'Fairytale of New York'
Shia LaBeouf's Nymphomaniac sex scene removed from YouTube
Paul Walker: Fast and Furious cast release video tribute to late star
Morgan Freeman portrait: The world's most realistic finger painting?
Nymphomaniac trailer shown to children at screening of Disney film Frozen
- 1 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 2 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 3 Scientists sequence oldest human DNA from fossilised leg bone found in Spain
- 4 Cannabis can cause man boobs, US surgeon claims
- 5 Joanna Lumley’s garden bridge over the Thames gets £30m seal of approval from Government