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Walter Pater

Individualism and Aesthetic Philosophy

Kate Hext

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Explores how Walter Pater and his contemporary aesthetes were influenced by modern philosophies

Repositioning Walter Pater at the philosophical nexus of Aestheticism, this study presents the first discussion of how Pater redefines Romantic Individualism through his engagements with modern philosophical discourses and in the context of emerging modernity in Britain. It also considers the dynamics between form and thought at the fin de siècle, contextualizing its comments in terms of Matthew Arnold, Oscar Wilde and Vernon Lee and others, to offer a fully integrated account of the intellectual cultures and currents in this period.

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About the Author

Kate Hext is a lecturer in English at the University of Exeter. She has written widely on aestheticism and the relationship between literature and philosophy in the nineteenth century.


In this original study of Walter Pater’s many contexts - Oxford’s classicists and colleges, late Victorian ideologies, German Idealism, theories of evolution and time - Kate Hext’s Pater is revealed as intensely modern, obsessed with the most modern of problems: the status of the individual in nature and society. If the Blessed will not care what angle they are regarded from, the individual Pater and Pater’s Individual are blessed in Hext’s graceful, philosophical touch.

- Professor Regenia Gagnier, University of Exeter

[An] elegant and erudite new study...

- Matthew Kaiser, Victorian Studies, Volume 57, Number 4

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