Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death
Walter Pater and Post-Hegelianism

Giles Whiteley

Studies In Comparative Literature 20

Legenda

12 April 2010  •  188pp

ISBN: 978-1-906540-64-7 (hardback)  •  RRP £75, $99, €85

ISBN: 978-1-351193-79-5 (Taylor & Francis ebook)

EnlightenmentEnglishPhilosophyArt


Walter Pater, best known as the author of The Renaissance (1873) and as Oscar Wilde’s tutor and friend, was a leading figure in European aestheticism and British fin-de-siècle culture. Despite this, he has received only limited critical attention, and has tended to be read conservatively. Drawing on Pater’s unpublished manuscripts, Giles Whiteley challenges this view of Pater as a closeted don who spent the remainder of his life regretting the excesses of his Renaissance. Focusing on Pater’s reading of the German idealist philosopher, G. W. F. Hegel, Whiteley argues that Pater’s response to both the philosophical and the ideological legacies of idealism was significantly more advanced than has been hitherto thought. Presenting a persuasive new reading of the genre of the imaginary portrait – Pater’s most elusive form of writing – the book paints a picture of Walter Pater as a truly revolutionary thinker. Pater, like Nietzsche during the same period, breaks with the dialectic as a method. Anticipating the radical critiques of ideology of post-Hegelians such as Derrida and Deleuze, Pater becomes a radical and transgressive thinker in his own right.

Giles Whiteley received his PhD at the University of Manchester, and has taught at both Manchester and Liverpool John Moores.

Reviews:

  • ‘Scholars have long been aware of the importance of acknowledging Pater’s debt to Hegelian philosophy. And many critics of Pater have performed almost obligatory nods towards Hegel’s influence, conceptualized in vague terms, without formulating an understanding of its precise forms. Such critics will now have to engage seriously with Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death, which contains the most scholarly and detailed account of Pater’s Hegelianism to date.’ — Stefano Evangelista, Modern Language Review 106.4, 2011, 1133-34 (full text online)
  • ‘In this meticulously researched monograph Giles Whiteley sets himself the expansive task of reading Pater’s entire intellectual project as an extended conversation with Hegel... the case is well made that Pater should be considered a proto-poststructuralist thinker.’ — unsigned notice, Forum for Modern Language Studies 48.3, June 2012, 361

Bibliography entry:

Whiteley, Giles, Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death: Walter Pater and Post-Hegelianism, Studies In Comparative Literature, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2010)

First footnote reference: 35 Giles Whiteley, Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death: Walter Pater and Post-Hegelianism, Studies In Comparative Literature, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda, 2010), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Whiteley, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Whiteley, Giles. 2010. Aestheticism and the Philosophy of Death: Walter Pater and Post-Hegelianism, Studies In Comparative Literature, 20 (Cambridge: Legenda)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Whiteley 2010: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Whiteley 2010: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)


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