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The Dialectics of Sense and Spirit in Pater and Joyce

Frank Moliterno

Publication Year: 1998

Modernist scholars have written a handful of comparative studies on Pater and Joyce. Frank Moliterno's The Dialectics of Sense and Spirit in Pater and Joyce is the first book-length exploration into the aesthetic development of these writers that underscores the importance of Pater in Joyce's works. Much of Pater's and Joyce's aesthetics evolves from the dialectical tension between the sensual and the spiritual. The Paterian-Joycean syntheses of basic antinomies--religion and sensuality, empiricism and idealism, Aristotelian mimesis and aestheticism--result in kindred theories of art. Moliterno's close analysis of how these syntheses emerge informs our reading of both writers in new ways. His highly readable account of the intellectual affinity between the two authors searches their relationship and Joyce's potential debt to Pater. In four main chapters Moliterno discusses the transition of Pater and Joyce from priests to artists and the parallel ways they portray this process in fiction; traces the Paterian elements of the aesthetics of Stephen Dedalus and of the mature Joyce; compares Pater's epiphanies with Joyce's to reveal how Pater helped shaped the Joycean epiphany; and analyzes the similar epistemologies behind the development of Pater's and Joyce's aesthetics.

Published by: ELT Press


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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-v


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pp. vii-vii

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pp. ix-ix

To Perry Meisel, whose work The Myth of the Modern: A Study of British Literature and Criticism After 1850 revealed to me the potential extent of Pater's importance in Joyce; to Bud McGrath, whose The Sensible Spirit: Walter Pater and the Modernist Paradigm suggested to me the dialectical ...

A Note On Primary Texts

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pp. x-x

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Chapter 1. Making Connections

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pp. 1-23

In the summer of 1902, Joyce, having decided to enter Dublin literary society, visited the Irish poet and mystic George Russell. While discussing poetry and metaphysics into the early morning hours, Joyce told Russell that he "abhorred the Absolute over everything else." Russell wrote to Yeats about Joyce, telling him that the young poet had talent, but "was infected ...

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Chapter 2. The Secular Religion

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pp. 25-56

The religious and sensual tensions that Pater and Joyce experienced during their youth are present throughout their fiction. Their autobiographical personae appear in several works. Taken together, FlorIan Deleal in "The Child in the House" and the eponymous figure in Marius the Epicurean, which ...

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Chapter 3. Stephen's Aesthetics and Pater

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pp. 57-84

Before the publication of Ulysses, Joyce's readers debated whether the novelist intended Stephen to be a creative artist or a posturing aesthete at the end of Portrait. Like Robert Scholes, who claimed that Stephen becomes a poet with the composition of the villanelle, some have argued that Stephen

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Chapter 4. Joyce's Epiphanies & Pater

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pp. 85-123

Most comparative studies on Pater and Joyce have focused on the epiphany as a defining instance of the writers' close kinship. In "'Visions and Epiphanies': Fictional Technique in Pater's Marius and Joyce's Portrait" (1973), Robert Scotto argues that, from his reading of Manus ...

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Chapter 5. "Solider Aristotle": Paterian & Joycean Epistemology

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pp. 125-143

Throughout their writings, Pater and Joyce explore epistemological conflicts between matter and spirit. These inquiries are often discourses on empiricism and idealism, and the dialectical tensions within them help form Pater's and Joyce's aesthetics. The clash resembles debates between the ...

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Chapter 6. Conclusion

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pp. 145-149

Critical estimation of the importance of Pater to Joyce falls into two camps. One is represented by T. S. Eliot, who stated that Joyce was greatly interested in Pater but soon outgrew him. The other is represented by Perry Meisel, who, half a century later, argued that Pater's influence on Joyce pervades his ...


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pp. 151-171


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pp. 173-180

Back Cover

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pp. 192-192

E-ISBN-13: 9780944318706
Print-ISBN-10: 0944318118

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 1998

OCLC Number: 605346370
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Dialectics of Sense and Spirit in Pater and Joyce

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Subject Headings

  • Aesthetics, British.
  • Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Aesthetics.
  • Pater, Walter, 1839-1894 -- Influence.
  • Influence (Literary, artistic, etc.).
  • Joyce, James, 1882-1941 -- Knowledge -- Literature.
  • Pater, Walter, -- 1839-1894 -- Aesthetics.
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