William Buckler Quotes : Critic who wrote about Walter Pater
Buckler, William E. Walter Pater: The Critic as Artist of Ideas. New York: New York UP, 1987.
Ian Fletcher: Pater "created himself for us in his oeuvre as a permanently significant symbolical figure: the most complete example, the least trivial, of the aesthetic man."
Buckler: "In Pater's handling of the subject art becomes as large as human life is in itself capable of being" (2). "Art enabled Pater to achieve a positive view of life, to see the continuity and promise of human history in the permanent creative constituents of the human mind or spirit" (3). "He adopted the classical principle of the primacy of self-knowledge and extrapolated it along classical lines. All knowledge being a form of self-knowledge, one must not only know oneself but also 'value' such knowledge 'at its eternal worth.' That means seeing oneself imaginatively or symbolically rather than literally...seeing 'beyond the facts' of the...fragments of one's historical existence to their inner significance" (4). "The conversion of personal intimacy into impersonal, imaginative self-referentiality was perhaps the most precarious and rewarding of Pater's critical-creative achievements. By transforming Romantic self-consciousness into classical self-awareness, he opened the history of the human mind to the history of his own mind and freed himself from the impediments of an artificial Romantic-classical dichotomy, enabling him to accept the fact and meet the challenge of modernism without feeling cut off from the master workmen of antiquity and their successors" (4-5).
"Winckelmann" "establishes the strongest implicit connection between what has been (history) and what may yet be (poetry)" (10-11). "Its real subject is...not how one comes to terms with art but how one comes to terms with life, how one succeeds in making his life a work of art, complete, serene, indifferent to 'the chain of circumstances' that threatened it along the way" (12). Pater reports that Goethe speaks of Winckelmann: "as of an abstract type of culture, consummate, tranquil, withdrawn already into the region of ideals, yet retaining colour from the incidents of a passionate intellectual life. He classes him with certain works of art." From the "Conclusion" to The Renaissance: "What we have to do is to be for ever curiously testing new opinions and courting new impressions, never acquiescing in a facile orthodoxy, of Comte, or of Hegel, or of our own." "He [Pater] wanted to discover things for himself both as to fact and as to form"(17). Biographical symbolism: "Winckelmann was, like us, a human being trying to cope with particular conditions, and the fruit his life bore was deeply rooted in his longing for, and recognition of, an ideal of completeness" (18).
"His purpose was not to attack the Christian solution but to give a fairer view of the total Greek experience and thus to rehabilitate its solution" (21). In Pater's view "The essential differences between...for example...the Greek religion and Christianity--are determined by the 'cycle of poetical conceptions' that become attached to these ritualistic systems and keep them culturally alive" (21). "Hellenism...one of man's happiest spiritual achievements that perpetually beckons his return" (22).
|December 29, 2003||© Yenra ®|