Walter Pater

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This is from Stephen Wayne Foster:

Walter Pater (1839-94) was a highly influental writer whose extreme cautiousness did not prevent him from being at times the target of moral indignation in an era when even the very slightest hint of pederasty or hedonism were enough to send people into fits. He was overlooked by Eglinton and d'Arch Smith, but room was found for him in the writings of Noel Garde (1964), Brian Reade (1970), Rowse (1977), the Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (1990) and Neil McKenna's "The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde" (2005), this last-named being the only one of these books that actually mentions his boyfriend, the Balliol Bugger, Hardinge. Michael Kaylor devotes two chapters to him in "Secreted Desires" (2005). The story of his affair with Hardinge is told by Billie Andrew Inman in an article or chapter titled "Estrangement and Connection" (second chapter of Ian Small, ed., "Pater in the 1990s" (1991). For a closet case like Pater, he certainly chose the wrong student to love, namely William Money Hardinge (1854-1916), who was very much out of the closet at Oxford, where Pater taught. Hardinge was an outspoken Uranian poet whose poetry seems generally not to have survived, and thus he has not hitherto been listed by, for example, Brian Reade. He later became a novelist. The Oxford authorities could only take so much, and he was sent down for awhile in 1874, right in the middle of his affair with Pater. It is not clear whether there was a homosexual element in Pater's friendship with Charles Lancelot Shadwell (1840-1919), a translator of Dante. McKenna mentions his friendship with the poet Lionel Johnson (1867-1902), whose tortured sexuality was reflected in the poem "The Dark Angel." The two most important books by Pater were "The Renaissance" (1873) and an historical novel, "Marius the Epicurean" (1885). These fell like a bombshell in certain cultural circles, as mild as they seem today. There was a gay relationship hinted at in "Marius" and the long essay on Wincklemann in "The Renaissance" has pederastic overtones (see Reade). But it was the Conclusion to the first edition of "The Renaissance" that ruffled the most feathers. Having rejected Christianity, Pater suggested that one ought to live for the moment, worshipping Beauty. Pater himself lived a life which was hardly scandalous, distancing himself from the likes of Simeon Solomon and Oscar Wilde, but just as Plato has for a long time been used as an excuse for pederasty, so it was that Pater was used. This caused him to remove the Conclusion from later editions.

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