Wolfgang Iser's study of Walter Pater (1839-94) was first published in German in 1960. It places the English critic, essayist and novelist in a philosophical tradition whose major exponents were Hegel and Coleridge, at the same time showing how ...
Pater differed crucially from these thinkers to become representative of a late Victorian culture critically poised in transition between Romanticism and Modernism. Pater's new definitions of 'beauty' and 'style' in art, his doctrine of 'art for art's sake', his preoccupation with aesthetic existence, his fascination with periods of balance and historical transition are seen in the light of his scepticism towards all systematisation and his view of art as countering human finiteness by capturing the intensity of the moment. This important book, which remains as illuminating now as when it first appeared, will interest those interested in philosophy and aesthetics and Pater specialists alike.