Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Cosmopolitanism, Decadence and the Vernacular at the Fin de Siècle: Walter Pater and the Possibility of a Poetics for an Unpoetical Age
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2968-4867
2017 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

It is curious that the mid-Victorian period, which saw Britain at the height of its imperial pomp, also witnessed the emergence of a deep insecurity over the status of English as a poetic literary language. Contextualized alongside Matthew Arnold’s break with poetry, this paper will focus on one influential fin de siècle response to this problem in Walter Pater’s historical novel Marius the Epicurean (1885). Set during the Rome of the Antonines, the novel historicizes a series of contemporary anxieties, allowing Pater to muse on the status of English as a literary language through a discussion of the use of Latin as a vernacular language during the age of Marcus Aurelius. The focus in particular will be on the chapters ‘Euphuism’ and ‘A Pagan End’, in which Marius’ friend Flavian constructs his new literary program, asserting ‘the rights of the proletariate of speech’, and writing the (anonymous) Pervigilium Veneris. Contextualising these passages alongside firstly the theme of cosmopolitanism, the utopian dream of the κοσμοπολίτης that frames so much of the novel, both historically and in contemporary fin de siècle discourse, alongside the (here related) discourse of decadence developed in these chapters and in Pater’s essay on ‘Style’ (1888), the paper will conclude by examine Pater’s own English as a kind of vernacular, one at once scholarly, decadent and cosmopolitan, mixing ‘racy Saxon monosyllables […] with those long, savoursome, Latin words, rich in “second intention”’, to consider seriously Mallarmé’s suggestion that Pater was ‘le prosateur ouvragé par excellence de ce temps’.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
Keyword [en]
Walter Pater, Matthew Arnold, Cosmopolitanism, Decadence, Vernacular, Unpoetical, Marius the Epicurean
National Category
General Literature Studies Specific Literatures
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146589OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-146589DiVA: diva2:1137902
Conference
Loose Tongues: World Literature and the Vernacular, Stockholm, Sweden, August 23-25, 2017
Available from: 2017-09-01 Created: 2017-09-01 Last updated: 2017-09-05Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Whiteley, Giles
By organisation
Department of English
General Literature StudiesSpecific Literatures

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

Total: 23 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf