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Chapter 7 - Walter Pater, Second-Hand Stylist

from Part I - General

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

Oxford classicist, lover of Renaissance art, Pater might seem to belong in a different atmospheric universe from that which presided over the emergence of intertextual theory in the Paris of the 1960s. While his name is virtually synonymous with subjective aesthetic response, the notion of intertextuality, first named and honed at the hands of Julia Kristeva, Roland Barthes, and Michel Foucault, is, by contrast, tightly intertwined with the idea of authorial impersonality. Yet these realms and modes of thought are not as dichotomous as they may initially appear, however starkly distinct their critical languages. Over the decades since his death, Pater’s work has given rise to considerable comment regarding his use of source material. This chapter examines Pater’s practice of ‘second-hand’ writing in ‘Style’ – in particular his borrowings from Flaubert and Maupassant – in the light of intertextual theory in comparison with the extreme citational practices of Flaubert and Joyce. Highlighting significant similarities and differences between their treatment of sources, it brings into focus the specificity of Pater’s drive to style the second-hand.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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