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Chapter 11 - Pater on Coleridge and Wordsworth

from Part II - Individual Authors: Early Moderns, Romantics, Contemporaries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 November 2023

Charles Martindale
Affiliation:
University of Bristol
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Affiliation:
University of York
Lene Østermark-Johansen
Affiliation:
University of Copenhagen
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Summary

When Pater’s Appreciations was first published in 1889, the chapters on Wordsworth and Coleridge were uniformly praised. Although Pater had previously published material on both poets, the chapters in Appreciations are the most oft cited. In order to assess them, we must contextualise the essays within a longer arc of Pater’s career. ‘Coleridge’s Writings’ was Pater’s first publication, appearing in the Westminster Review in 1866. Pater later contributed detailed remarks on Coleridge’s poetry to volume 4 of T. H. Ward’s English Poets (1880). The chapter on Coleridge in Appreciations consists of the first half of ‘Coleridge’s Writings’ as well as its concluding paragraphs, with the commentary on the poetry inserted in the middle. Pater’s essay ‘On Wordsworth’, which first appeared in the Fortnightly Review in 1874, may be regarded as one of the most important critical statements of his career. It is closely allied with his remarks on Wordsworth in the Preface to The Renaissance, published the previous year, and may have been designed to be included in that study. It stands as an important corrective to the Victorian Wordsworth.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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