But who is "she"?: forms of subjectivity in Walter Pater's writings.
We must not suffer ourselves to be misled by the sophistical and often malicious talk about the assumed inferiority of the female sex, which we meet with now and then in the dialogues of this time, nor by such satires as the third of Ariosto, who treats woman as a dangerous grown-up child, whom a man must learn how to manage in spite of the great gulf between them. (Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy)
These primitive goddesses reflect another condition of things, a relationship traced through the mother, the state of society known by the awkward term matriarchal. (Jane Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion)
Gender performativity is not a matter of choosing which gender one will be today. Performativity is a matter of reiterating or repeating the norms by which one is constituted: it is not a radical fabrication of a gendered self. It is a compulsory repetition of prior and subjectivating norms, ones which cannot be thrown off at will, but which work, animate, and constrain the gendered subject, and which are also the resources from which resistance, subversion, displacement are to be forged. (Judith Butler, "Critically Queer")
"She is older than the rocks among which she sits," the famous passage from The Renaissance intones; "like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; ... and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen ... and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary." (1) The definitional phrasing that resists definite meaning is repeated, and extended, in the study of Demeter: "She is the goddess of dark caves, and is not wholly free from monstrous form. She gave men the first fig in one place, the first poppy in another.... She is the mother of the vine also; and the assumed name by which she called herself in her wanderings, is Dos--a gift.... She is the preserver of the seed sown in hope, under many epithets derived from the incidents of vegetation, as the simple countryman names her.... She is the most definite embodiment of all those fluctuating mystical instincts." (2) The purpose of this essay is to inquire after the "she" constructed in Pater's writings, to discern the culturally-encoded meanings inscribed within the epithets, names, and textual embodiments. In the past decade, commentators have ably probed the complexities of male subjectivity and masculinity within Pater's canon. I would like to suggest why, and how, Pater utilizes female figures to envision the "form" of subjectivity and cultural renewal, and to examine the exceptional representations of female subjectivity--one positive, the other negative--found in "The Myth of Demeter and Persephone" and "A Prince of Court Painters," respectively.
Questions to be raised and (partially) answered by the discussion will include: To what extent is Pater reiterating and reproducing dominant Victorian discourses on femininity? How has he transformed various elements of gender ideology into his own literary effects? Are female figures ever utilized to sound the erotic registers of Pater's sexual--aesthetic discourse? If not, what can be learned about the averted gaze in his art criticism? In fictional texts, what are the roles of women in the processes of masculine self-definition and self-fulfilment, and, counter--discursively, how is the "topos of the feminine" utilized to signal the "refusal of an entire cluster of values associated with bourgeois masculinity"? (3) We shall discover that many texts simply reproduce the gender determinism of their day. But what might appear to be misogyny is not. When working closely with unfamiliar mythic materials, or probing the contrast between obscurity and renown, Pater's writings reveal a refreshing sensitivity to gender and its cultural implications.
In the "Leonardo da Vinci" essay, Pater applauds the fact that "no one ever ruled over the mere subject in hand more entirely than Leonardo, or bent it more dexterously to purely artistic ends." (4) Pater's texts do not bend female figures beyond existing gender boundaries, "beyond the range of ... conventional associations"; (5) with one great exception, they do not offer a reorganization of cultural symbols and signifying practices. Nonetheless, female figures are dexterously deployed to probe the emotional resonances of religious narratives, the historicity of identity, and the possibilities and consequences of cultural rejuvenation. We tend to think of Pater's canon in terms of initial radical gestures and then gradual revisions, if not retractions, of earlier positions. (6) Yet, from the mid-1870s until the mid-1880s, Pater's engagement with female signifiers prompted an impressive breadth of writing activities and generic experimentation.
A brief discussion of terminology is required. This project examines one facet of the "ideological representations of the gendered subject in texts," (7) insisting upon the gendered nuances of all writing. Essays on Renaissance painting and ancient mythology may seem to be gender-free, or neutral, but they were, and are, indelibly marked by these "central categories of social and symbolic organization" (8) within patriarchy. Subjectivity has proven to be such fertile ground in Pater studies because texts such as the "Conclusion" to The Renaissance, which announces that identity is layered, problematic, and temporally unstable--"that continual vanishing away, that strange, perpetual, weaving and unweaving of ourselves" (9)--startlingly anticipate poststructuralist analyses of the discursive production of selves. As Tamar Katz has observed, Pater stressed "the troubling question of the subject's relation to the external world": "was the subject, he asked, endlessly open to sensations, wholly formed by its historical, cultural place, or did it stand apart, solipsistically enclosed, removed from the structures of a world outside?" (10) But however much Pater's texts provide splendid opportunities to reconsider some of the "components of subjectivity," (11) especially sexual difference and the impositions of sociality, we cannot assume that the "profound subjectivity of soul" (12) in question exists prior to or apart from gender. He may "invoke the universal or generic when he wishes to imagine subjectivity," as Katz admits, "but he is really only dealing with male subjectivity much of the time." (13) In this respect, he is anything but antinomian. (14)
Consequently, we find that the fabric of Pater's writings features a constructionist warp and an essentialist weft: Subjectivity is mobilized, interrogated, but within confirmed categories of gender and sexual difference (and as such is marked by, and reproduces, institutionalized gender inequality). (15) Normative regimes of gender binaries "enter into the very fastnesses of character" (16) as it is imagined in his texts--"men are linked to intellect, imagination, and breadth, women to emotion, fancy, and close observation"; (17) "the creative behaviour and potential of boys and men signal energy, assertiveness, ability, and persistence, while girls and women are clearly associated with subservience, (18) ignorance, and domesticity." (19)
Antiope, Queen of the Amazons, is transformed from "savage" to "the type of improved womanhood"; (20) Leonardo's John the Baptist features "delicate brown flesh and woman's hair"; (21) "innate" in Lucius Verus is "that more than womanly fondness for fond things"; (22) Dionysus was "a woman-like god," and "on women and feminine souls ... his power mainly fell" because women are "those who experience most directly the influence of things which touch thought through the senses." (23) According to Pater, the soul is not only "feminine" due to the traditions of Latin grammar and sexist patristic teachings, but there is a "self-immolating, longing feminine soul from age to age always the same" that is "not necessarily lodged in women's bosoms." (24) When a female's behavior, real or fictive, exceeds gendered expectations, Pater thinks of her as "imitating" (25) fundamentally "manly" qualities. The greatest accolade for Mary Arnold Ward, for example, is that "her own mind and culture have an unmistakable virility and grasp and scientific firmness." (26) When Psyche needs to confront, and propitiate, an angry Venus, she readies herself by imagining "'what if I put on at length a man's courage.'" (27) Shakespeare had a knack for "putting a sort of genius into simple women, so that ... their intuitions interpret that which is often too hard or fine for manlier reason." (28) The latter remark reminds us that the general stability of female--identified characteristics enables Pater to define more securely a "man's part," (29) that which, according to Penny Boumelha, is "missing, or lost, or repressed, in the acquisition of masculinity." (30) Marius's "manhood," for example, flourishes after the death of Flavian: "For the male element, the logical conscience asserted itself now, with opening manhood--asserted itself, even in his literary style, by a certain firmness of outline, that touch of the worker in metal, amid its richness." (31)
Interestingly, gender codes are somewhat reversed in Pater's writings when sexual experience is involved. Perhaps to answer those who thought homoeroticism and male--male sexual relations degrading and corrupt, there is an almost hyperbolic insistence on masculine virginity. (32) Chastity and celibacy, askesis of body and mind, are the particular province of male figures. (In Linda Dowling's terms, Pater's texts endorse a "higher," specifically nongenital Platonic love. (33)) However obliquely, most female figures are identified with sexual relations, current or past, in one of two ways: Positively, to effect and affirm maternity, and ensure the production of male offspring, (34) or negatively, to demonstrate a transhistorical and transcultural femme fatality (Faustina and Margaret of Valois (35) are the most vivid examples).
Such a deployment of female figures--in essays and fiction alike--guarantees for the texts a patina of heterosexual regularity that occludes the actual "immanence of men's same-sex bonds," (36) whether homosocial or homosexual. (37) Lack of erotic aspect in couples such as Duke Carl and Gretchen, Sebastian van Storck and Miss van Westrheen, Marius and Cecilia, Cornelius and Cecilia, Gaston and Colombe, and Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna reminds one of the emotional distance that characterizes Botticelli's Venus and Mars (a separateness emphasized by the positioning of the deities within the elongated canvas). In the second and subsequent editions of The Renaissance, "Two Early French Stories" begins with the very real lives of Heloise and Abelard, but their daring affair is quickly dispatched in favor of Li Amitiez de Ami et Amile, a tale of intense male--male "comradeship." (38) Completing the heterosexual framing narrative is the story of Aucassin and Nicolette. Within Marius the Epicurean, the retelling of Apuleius' "golden" legend of Cupid and Psyche not only functions allegorically, it--along with supposed plans to marry Cecilia, and marital and extra--marital relations within Aurelius' court--safely ensconces the narrative within a heterosexual milieu. Having done so, the narrator can "escape from the pressure" and the "garish heat" of female-male relations to concentrate instead on the bonds between Marius and Cornelius. (39) "Shadowy" images are evoked to represent both Vittoria Colonna and Heloise in The Renaissance, (40) I would suggest that heterosexual scripts are invoked yet obscured in Pater's canon in order to highlight that which passes the love of women (II Samuel 1:26).
This strategy becomes more apparent in terms of the linkages forged among heterosexuality, marriage, and death, a plot device that time and again underscores the demise of sexual difference and choice within Christianity's coercive, normalizing regime. (41) The "immanence of death" (42) throughout Pater's writings is unmistakable; as early as "Poems by William Morris" we are alerted to the seductive "shortness of life," the "desire of beauty quickened by the sense of death." (43) But many texts implicitly ask, Which is worse, heterosexuality or death?--and elect extinction every time. Sebastian van Storck is crudely anti-female, but sudden death prevents the need to comply with familial and social pressures to marry. Duke Carl's desire for the "beggar-maid" is represented positively, but they first encounter one another during his "trick of the burial" and are mysteriously killed soon after their nuptials. Almost immediately after the new Count of Chatellux and Lady Ariane of Auxerre announce their peace-securing marriage plans, Denys l'Auxerrois is hunted down and viciously killed. Why is he so precipitously dispatched from this world? Does Marius give up his life because Cecilia is spoken for, or Cornelius? Gaston is spared from the Saint Bartholomew's Day massacre, but his life flourishes only after Colombe is expediently dispatched from the narrative. Gerald Monsman has suggested that Pater's "heroes are celibate" because they consecrate "their virility to their Great Mother"; consequently, "Pater often presents the death of his hero as the consummation of marriage." (44) I am arguing that death is the consummation devoutly to be wished for, as the only alternative to heterosexual conjugality. We shall return to this thematic in relation to Demeter and Persephone. For now, I would simply add that only sisterly/brotherly ties are positively endorsed by Pater. The "main interest" in Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, we are informed, "is not, as in [Cinthio's] Promos and Cassandra, in the relation of Isabella and Angelo, but rather in the relation of Claudio and Isabella." (45) Charles Lamb's life-long devotion to his sister Mary is particularly applauded ("Charles Lamb" in Appreciations and "English Literature" in Essays from "The Guardian"). And in Pater's 1890 review of Augustin Filon's Contes du Centenaire, we are told that the engagement and subsequent marriage between Philpote and Claude is successful because they are "friends" who are really in love with other, unattainable figures. (46)
Secure within culturally prescribed gender binaries that in fact subordinate the woman so that she may be "viewed by the man as his opposite, ... his other," (47) Pater utilizes woman-as-sign to fashion a concrete emblem of subjectivity, one that is productively antithetical to the privileged, "rare," and essentially manly "character" (48) he first imagined in the early 1860s. Few things in Pater's writings are as sharply dichotomized as the fixity of diaphanous masculinity and the flux of a richly-colored, polyvalent, and feminized subjectivity. The singular simplicity of the "transparent hero" (49) is unmistakeable; he is blessed with "this sort of entire transparency of nature that lets through unconsciously all that is really lifegiving in the established order of things." (50) It could be argued that by citing Dante's Beatrice and Carlyle's Charlotte Corday as the first two "types" of "diaphaneite," Pater is developing a universal, nongendered figure of "colourless, unclassified purity." (51) Yet the essay as a whole quickly concentrates on the "sweet aroma" of "early manhood" and the residual effects of this nature within a "man of genius." (52) Nonethless, this is a "manhood" quite unlike that dictated by then-emergent gender norms of masculinity (which favored aggressiveness, dominance, strength, and the antithesis of colorlessness).
Essays published in 1866 and 1868 lay the groundwork for a relativistic, metaphorically polychromatic theory of subjectivity, but only in 1869 does Pater discover the perfect "symbolical representation," the crucially visible form or "figured side of [the] figurative expression." (53) The occasion is the essay on Leonardo da Vinci; the form is the Mona Lisa. The instrumentality of such a figure should not be underestimated. Pater cannot praise enough, or too often, what is accomplished with "one clearly conceived yet complex symbol": Thanks to "a single imaginable form, an outward body of flesh presented to the senses" we can comprehend "a whole world of thoughts, surmises, greater and less experiences." (54) As he suggests in Greek Studies,
the mythical conception, projected at last, in drama or sculpture, is the name, the instrument of the identification, of the given matter,--of its unity in variety, its outline or definition in mystery; its spiritual form, to use again the expression I have borrowed from William Blake-form, with hands, and lips, and opened eyelids-spiritual[.] (55)
The latter was written in 1876. Seven years earlier, Pater had tried to define the great shift in Leonardo's temperament, and hence his art, from the "perfection of that [early] style" to the almost mysterious accomplishments of the "masterpieces." "He plunged, then, into the study of nature" and "plunged also into human personality," investigations complemented by becoming a "diver in [the] deep seas" of interiority. (56) "He did not at once or entirely desert his art," we are told; "only he was no longer the cheerful, objective painter, through whose soul, as through clear glass, the bright figures of Florentine life ... passed on to the white wall." (57) The formal expression and embodiment of this newly subjective state--multiple, protean, and strangely "exquisite"--was La Gioconda.
"Present from the first incorporeally in Leonardo's brain," Pater suggests, "she is found present at last in II Giocondds house." (58) Thus "she" becomes "a sort of impersonation of [masculine subjectivity] itself, its projected reflex or ideal" or Other, (59) a painterly (and textual) "presence" is predicated on the absence of female subjectivity. Replete with references to Greek goddesses, Leda, Saint Anne, the Borgias, and "the modern idea," Pater's peroration reproduces and extends what Mice Jardine terms "inherited genealogies of the feminine." (60) Pregnant with signifying potential, La Gioconda is, in Carolyn Williams's words, "a figure that again makes sexual generation a metaphor for historical dialectic" yet simultaneously ensures "historical reconciliation." (61) Pater's description actually reconciles, or conflates, several Leonardo works: La Gioconda, the Virgin and Child with St Anne, and the two versions of the Virgin of the Rocks (one now housed in the Louvre, the other in London's National Gallery). Boundaries between the secular and the sacred become blurred in the process, but the typology of "woman" remains unchanged. (This composite textual figure "set in its marble chair, in that circle of fantastic rocks" (62) will resurface in this discussion in relation to Demeter.)
Pater may have a limited interest in female subjectivity, but he does not concentrate instead upon naked, "iconic images of femininity." (63) In this sense, his work offers a reprieve from the commodification of female bodies so prevalent in late nineteenth-century visual arts and aesthetic writing. Although "the care for physical beauty, the worship of the body" is cited in the Preface to The Renaissance as an underlying "motive" in Hellenic and Renaissance culture, we quickly learn that only male bodies are to be "handled." (64) Erotic nonengagement with the feminine is most strikingly evident in relation to two paintings. The first is Giorgione's Fete Champetre. At the outset of Pater's analysis (first devised for "The School of Giorgione" and then reiterated in "A Study of Dionysus"), reference is made to "the intense sensations" that "cling about the touch and sound and sight" of the painting. (65) But the textual gaze is averted from the predominant, incongruously nude female figures to "the darkness of the well in the breathless court, with the delicate ring of ferns kept alive just within the opening; of the sound of fresh water flowing through the wooden pipes." (66) We are not simply dealing with a case of embarrassed prudery. The "subtle and far-reaching symbolisms" (67) of the canvas' details should remind us that, whether in the form of whirlpool, stream, the "motion of great waters" (68) or La Gioconda's "deep seas," water and subjectivity are inextricably connected in Pater's texual realm. He is attempting to define that inner essence of the Giorgionesque--the subjectivity prior to creativity, in Pater's ontological and creative schema--that is expressed in both the Venetian's paintings and those produced by members of his "school." Some art critics have suggested that the female figures are fictive, representing the musicians' imaginative thoughts as they perform. If Pater shared this view, then the passage's emphasis on fertile waters would complement (and compliment) the occasion of male creativity.
Regarding Botticelli's Birth of Venus, a "presence that rose thus so strangely" upon the waters, we are simply told that the "figure reminds [us] of the faultless nude studies of Ingres." (69) "[Q]uaintness of design" is stressed rather than the central body au naturel because Pater, with a characteristic mixture of tact and daring, wants to connect the pagan goddess's "lineaments" (70) with the "sentiment" expressed by Botticelli's Madonnas. In all of these figures, we are told, "the colour is cadaverous or at least cold"; (71) the possibilities of erotic or maternal pleasure have been supplanted by a keen apprehension of sorrow. (72) According to Pater's mythic script, the occasion for the female figures' emotional suffering is male endeavor and pain. The Madonna is anticipating her role at the crucifixion as Mater dolorosa; the "goddess of pleasure" witnesses the "men [who] go forth to their labours until the evening." (73) But more than that, Aphrodite Anadyomene exists because of a prior act of violence against a male god: The castration and mutilation of Uranos. To quote George Grote's account of the plot organized by Gaea and carried out by Kronos, only Kronos, the youngest "and the most daring," would take up his mother's call to avenge his siblings, the Titans imprisoned by Uranos "in cavities of the earth." Armed "with the sickle" created by Gaea, Kronos waited in ambush and "then emerged from his concealment, cut off the genitals of his father, and cast the bleeding member behind him far away into the sea.... Out of the genitals themselves, as they swam and foamed upon the sea, emerged the goddess Aphrodite, who derived her name from the foam out of which she had sprung." (74) Botticelli's Birth of Venus both denies and recalls the god's body in extremis, to borrow Richter's words for the Laocoon, the painting "represents beauty in relation to pain, however that relation may be understood. Pain reveals.... [and] decenters beauty." (75) Pater's contribution to the aesthetics of violence, his fascination with the "instrumentality of pain," (76) deserve a separate study. I would simply like to stress that he implicates females and males alike in his tropes of pain, partially as a means of counteracting what he termed "the superficial mildness of our nineteenth century." (77)
Grote's study of Aphrodite stresses that she "manifested herself" variously at different times. (78) Galleries and museums in Oxford, London, Paris, and Florence provided Pater with ample opportunities to consider representations Veneris in their gorgeous historical diversity. (79) But Pater not only refers to a variety of artefacts in his texts--including Botticelli's painting, the Venus of Melos, and a sculpture by Praxiteles (80)--he stresses the crucial importance of Venus as an epiphanic figure signaling the rebirth of culture and aesthetic values. In other words, Venus has become another invaluable "form," at one and the same time sensuous, spiritual, and, like Yeats' lapis lazuli, continually evolving. (81) Unlike the Virgin Mary, the vessel for one miraculous birth, Venus is herself the transcultural figure of a "second birth," (82) and a third, and so on. These arguments are reiterated throughout The Renaissance ("Two Early French Stories," "Sandro Botticelli," "Luca della Robbia," and "Winckelmann"), and mentioned significantly in Miscellaneous Studies, the "Postscript" to Appreciations, and Greek Studies. Even "Gaudioso, the Second," a fragmentary manuscript, features the rediscovery of a Venus Victrix that had been buried for more than fifteen hundred years. (83) But we should also consider the "many-sided" function of Venus in Marius the Epicurean. Marius' journey from innocence to experience is marked by his removal from Numa to the nearby "Port-of-Venus," which features a "lighthouse temple of Venus Speciosa on its dark headland, amid the long--drawn curves of white breakers." (84) Flavian's composition of the Pervigilium Veneris results in "a nuptial hymn" celebrating, in a "mystic sense," the "preliminary pairing and mating together of all fresh things." Yet his "early corruption" of spirit is followed by the "terrible new disease" that claims his life. (85) Subsequently, Marius goes on to encounter a young and "chaste" Christian religion featuring a "Divine Mother and the Child, just then rising upon the world like the dawn." (86) Has the pagan Venus of the "sunless dawn" been usurped? Yes, necessarily; but only as the latest phase in the "perpetual weaving and unweaving" of human history.
Thus far, I have demonstrated the extent to which Pater could utilize female signifiers without considering the absence (in his work, and his culture's dominant discourses) of women's subjectivity. In the mid-1870s, (87) however, a recent archaeological report, an ancient sculpture, and a rediscovered classical manuscript were catalysts for new and distinctive work that highlights female empowerment and aspirations, and teaches us a great deal about myths and the ideological work that they do. (88)
The Homeric Hymn to Demeter "derives from a single mutilated manuscript of the early fifteenth century C.E., discovered in a stable in Moscow in 1777, supplemented by papyrus fragments." (89) It tells of Demeter's anger, grief, and retaliations when "Zeus, heavy-thundering and mighty-voiced, gave [their daughter, Persephone], / without the consent of Demeter," to Aidoneus, or Hades. (90) More specifically, the Hymn relates a legend of "wrath, withdrawal, and return": (91) The brutal rape and abduction of Persephone to the underworld; Demeter's fruitless search for her daughter; the gods' indifference to the plight of the maiden and the mother's anguish; Demeter's sojourn on earth among mortals as she mourned; the famine that results when she withholds the crops and harvests to protest her loss; her disdain for Zeus' gestures of appeasement; his capitulation to her demands to have Persephone restored; Aidoneus' final trickery in forcing the pomegranate seeds into the young woman's mouth before she leaves the underworld; (92) and the reunion of divine mother and daughter. All of this is recounted in the Hymn to explain the rituals of the Eleusinian mysteries, "the most important of the mystery cults of antiquity, eventually attract[ing] initiates [both female and male] from the entire Greco-Roman world." (93) Pater's long, bipartite essay features a meticulous translation of the Hymn, one that eliminates much of the dialogue but carefully adheres to the main narrative and its emphasis on Demeter's "awe-ful" power and resistance.
The publication often quoted by Pater is A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidae (1862), written by the "eminent" Sir Charles Newton, Keeper of the Greek and Roman antiquities at the British Museum. Newton had personally directed the excavations in Asia Minor from 1856 to 1859. Cnidus (or Knidos, now Cape Cris) is an island connected with the Turkish peninsula in the Gulf of Kos; in ancient times, the Greeks had created two harbours there to support an outpost of the Dorian confederation of cities. (94) As Newton documents, the site proved to be a palimpsest of religious experiences and artwork, featuring a private temenos dedicated to Demeter and the Heusian mysteries; temples to Venus, Dionysus, and the Muses; a Roman tomb; and the ruins of a Byzantine Christian church. Accompanying Newton's two volumes of detailed text is a large folio (14" x 22") featuring archaeological plans, engravings of the on-site work, and carefully-rendered drawings of the artefacts discovered (many of which were subsequently shipped to England and installed in the British Museum).
Chief among the resituated sculptures was the statue of "Demeter enthroned" sculpted circa 350-330 BC. (95) As I have already intimated, this "seated figure," from a frontal view, bears an uncanny formal resemblance to the Mona Lisa: Another nonsmiling, mature, mysteriously impassive female figure whose surface placidity belies a turbulent personal and cultural history (the Gioconda's past was imaginatively generated by Pater; Demeter's had been sung, recited, and rewritten for more than thirty-six centuries). To quote Pater's appreciative description:
The seated figure, much mutilated, and worn by long exposure, yet possessing, according to the best critics, marks of the school of Praxiteles, is almost undoubtedly the image of Demeter enthroned. Three times in the Homeric hymn she is represented as sitting, once by the fountain at the wayside, again in the house of Celeus, and again in the newly finished temple of Eleusis; but always in sorrow; seated on the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] which, as Ovid told us, the people of Attica still called the stone of sorrow. Here she is represented in her later state of reconciliation, enthroned as the glorified mother of all things. The delicate plaiting of the tunic about the throat, the formal curling of the hair, and a certain weight of over-thoughtfulness in the brows, recall the manner of Leonardo da Vinci, a master.... [She is] the goddess of the fertility of the earth and of all creatures, but still of fertility as arisen out of death; and therefore she is not without a certain pensiveness, having seen the seed fall into the ground and die, many times. (96)
Redolent with violence, sorrow, symbolic rebirths, and a "cyclical reunion," (97) it is no wonder that the Demeter and Persephone materials would intrigue and inspire Pater. They had thrived intertextually in the works of Hesiod (Theogony), Callimachus (Hymn 6), Theocritus, the Orphic poets, Euripides (Helen), Cicero (Against Verres), Claudian (De raptu Proserpine), Ovid (Metamorphoses and Fastt), and Apuleius (The Golden Ass). Whereas Grote and C.O. Miiller discussed them briefly, Ludwig Preller devoted a chapter of Griechische Mythologie to them, and produced Demeter und Persephone (1837). (98) For his part, Pater anticipates late twentieth-century feminist scholarship by noting that, as reimagined and reinscribed by many male writers, elements of the "burlesque," the "romantic," or the mundane had crept into the legend; by the time of Ovid's Fasti, "all the mysticism [had] disappeared." (99) Pater's self-appointed task was nothing less than to reanimate "the deeper mythology of Demeter," restoring its religious significance (a "sacred representation or interpretation of the whole human experience") and reawakening an appreciation of primitive pagan cults and their artefacts. (100)
As Helene Foley observes, "the Hymn puts the female experiences of the goddesses ..., as well as the disguised Demeter's interactions with the mortal women of Eleusis, at the centre of its narrative." (101) Furthermore, it "idealizes the mother/daughter relation, just as the Odyssey idealizes the relation between father and son." (102) This rare "female-centered myth" focuses on "the resistance of Persephone to sexual and emotional abuse" and dramatizes the willingness of mother and daughter to "pit themselves against the male rulers of the pantheon, with the maternal bond as their chief strength and the politic tactic of refusal as their chief weapon. Thus, this myth is vitally concerned with the politics of power." (103) Pater's account follows the Hymn's lead in validating a matrifocal perspective, including the "female desire for autonomy." (104) As Laurel Brake has observed in another context, the "site of 'Greek studies'" actually permitted various "transgressions of the hegemonic culture." (105)
One other element of the narrative coincides with Pater's own preoccupations. As the bride of Aidoneus, Persephone "undergoes a symbolic death," what Pater terms an "early death." (106) As Foley explains, "ancient poets often exploited the similarity of the rituals of marriage and death as rites of transition from one phase of human existence to another." (107) Thus several years before Pater begins to compose fictions that suggest that the wages of heterosexuality is death for male protagonists, he discovers the leitmotif in its ancient guise.
Demeter challenges Zeus, resists him, and triumphs--but only partially, due to the deceit of Aidoneus. In that sense, the myth culminates "in a validation of the patriarchal order." (108) Pater's text implicitly supports this usurpation by suggesting that Demeter's story and religion are "[a]lien in some respects from the genuine traditions of Greek mythology. " (109) Nevertheless, Pater's insistence that Demeter and Persephone are chthonic religious figures, (110) and should be respected and feared as such, is singular and significant. The "marvellous incidents" recounted by the Hymn emphasize Demeter as "the type of divine grief," not simply or merely maternal suffering. Pater asks his readers to consider "the various, far-distant spots from which the visible body of the goddess slowly collected its constituents"; even if Demeter "becomes in her long wanderings almost wholly humanised," she is ever the "solemn" goddess, a "divine presence. "Similarly, Persephone was, at one time, much more than the quintessential victim, "the beautiful girl going down into the darkness." (111) Among Pater's contributions to the study of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII.] ("the Mother and the Maid," or "the older and younger form of the same" being (112)) is a clear explication of the evolution of individualized deities. "Gradually," Pater reminds us, "the office of Persephone is developed, defines itself; functions distinct from those of Demeter are attributed to her." Like Dionysus, she too is "a Doppelganger" [sic], belonging to the "two worlds" of life and death. (113)
When we compare Pater's study of "The Myth of Demeter and Persephone" with other nineteenth-century representations, his interest in an empowered female subjectivity becomes legible. First and foremost, Pater stresses that his is "the story of Demeter" and its many facets; he concentrates on the figure of resistance, not the victim, and does not eroticize the rape. Pater also resists the Roman/Latinate re-versioning of the myth, in which Ceres and Proserpina are less "venerable, or aweful," more domesticated. (114) From Aubrey de Vere's lyrical masque The Search after Proserpine (1843) to references in Arnold's "Thyrsis" (1866), Browning's "Balaustion's Adventure," and Oscar Wilde's Newdigate prize poem, "Ravenna," many of Pater's male contemporaries preferred the story of "lost maidenhood." Nathaniel Hawthorne's retelling of the tale for a young audience, "The Pomegranate-Seeds," actually insists that a willfully negligent "Ceres failed to protect her daughter"; he "carefully distinguishes between Pluto's 'letting' Proserpina stay on earth periodically and [her] willing acquiescence to Pluto's desire." (115) Not surprisingly, the Pre-Raphaelite response was as intense as it was diverse. Richard Watson Dixon's "Proserpine" appeared in 1861; Swinburne's "The Garden of Proserpine" and "Hymn to Proserpine" were both published in 1866. Dante Gabriel Rossetti's sonnet was composed, in Italian and English, to accompany the famous painting which underwent no less than eight different renderings. (116)
Swinburne's other Demeter/Persephone text, "At Eleusis," presents an accomplished rewriting of the Hymn. Meredith's title, "The Appeasement of Demeter" (1887), suggests the Paterian recasting his poem provides. As Johnston has argued (following Douglas Bush's lead), "the legend of Persephone became central to Tennyson's conception of himself as a poet," and informs texts such as Maud, both "Locksley Hall" poems, and In Memoriam. (117) "Demeter and Persephone," a dramatic monologue published in 1889, features Demeter as speaker, but Tennyson emphasizes throughout "the deathless heart of motherhood." (118) Crops fail because of her careless neglect rather than any deliberate attempt to thwart the Olympian realm. And the poem concludes with a Christian allegory. (119)
Many writers and scholars, including Grote, stressed Demeter's connection with the Virgin Mary. (120) Pater concurred, but with this cautionary note:
Later mythologists simply define the personal history; but in this hymn we may, again and again, trace curious links of connexion with the original purpose of the myth. Its subject is the weary woman, indeed, our Lady of Sorrows, the mater dolorosa of the ancient world, but with a certain latent reference, all through, to the mystical person of the earth. (121)
As he states elsewhere, the Virgin Mary is the "intercessor with her severe and awful Son," (122) a human vessel for the godhead. Demeter is the severe and "aweful" deity. Rather than linking Demeter with Mary, he is associating Mary with Demeter as a subsequent, and lesser, type. (123) Part II of "The Myth of Demeter and Persephone" lauds Demeter's inspiring maternal characteristics and behavior, especially the "sentiment of pity" that she embodies. But her "mystical influence" is neither forgotten nor diminished.
Pater inaugurated his mythic studies with a legend that stresses female agency and male capitulation. Patriarchy wins through trickery, but what Adrienne Rich calls "the power of Demeter, the efficacy of her anger" (124) remains unabated. It is a "story of women's struggle to gain subjectivity and voice in societies dominated by men," (125) one that demonstrates two different means by which female subjectivity is shaped and determined: Demeter's, through resistance, and Persephone's, through the sexual dominance of a male stranger who acts with her father's complicitous approval. Pater's lecture and published texts constitute a recovery and cultural re-placement of the myth that anticipates the work of recent feminists. Most importantly, it was the female-centered intensity of this 1875-1876 work that may have prompted the narrative strategy for "A Prince of Court Painters." With characteristic dialectical zest, however, Pater recasts the perspective in terms of female disempowerment.
Let us re-imagine, briefly, the moment before the project was begun. For twenty years, he has written essays, book reviews, cultural studies, and academic pieces; recently, he has worked tirelessly to complete a historical novel. For the latter, the burden of transhistorical and transcultural commentary and omniscience was tremendous. Now, among "all the literary codes and conventions available" for this new work, (126) which narrative voice seems most productive and appealing? The sage "historian" of obscured gender such as Eliot uses in Middlemarch? The satiric "puppet master" employed by Thackeray? The quietly reticent omniscience of Hardy? In Dickens' Bleak House, narrative responsibility was bifurcated into that of the unnamed, judicious overseer and the poignant, demure, productively limited perspective of Esther Summerson. Tennyson and Browning's dramatic monologues have also revealed the potential of assuming a mask, writing from an unfamiliar subject position. But rather than make the new textual portrait a single-faceted exercise in interiority, what if there were a way to construct a "many-sided" exploration of interior and exteriorized perspectives, one that worked through "indirect touches" and offered an innovative type of "self-portraiture"? In generic terms, what if one could construct "a sort of comedy which shall be but tragedy seen from the other side"? (127)
In The Heroine's Text, Nancy K. Miller suggests that "feminocentric" narratives written by men are actually written for men: Women are the "predominant signifiers, but they are also [the] pretext." (128) Many Pater scholars implicitly agree with Miller, because they assert that the "subject" of "A Prince of Court Painters" is Antoine Watteau, peintre des fetes galantes during the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV. I would suggest that there are two equally important subject positions being carefully if incompletely explored: Those of Watteau, the professional painter, and Marie-Marguerite Pater, whose fragmented journal entries constitute the narrative. Interestingly, both are marginal figures. She is the domesticated, subjugated observer who lives vicariously through the lives of men such as her brother and Watteau. He watches others in order to recreate them and their milieu in his paintings. (It could also be argued that the framing device of the story throws the aesthetic critic's position into gender jeopardy. Like the diarist, the critic sits on the sidelines, living off of the work produced by another. His knowledge of the artefacts, and the artist's life, is always partial, limited. What does it mean--for Pater and his reader--to feminize his task in this way?)
Both diarist and painter assemble their impressions on the blank page or canvas. Related tropes for subjectivity pervade "A Prince of Court Painters." According to Marie-Marguerite, her journal entries are similar to "the green weather-stains we have known all our lives on the high whitewashed wall" of her father's large workroom. Note, however, that she is most familiar with the wall--the barrier, not the workroom itself-that houses the creativity from which she is barred. Subsequently, unwittingly, she admits to enduring a "whitewashed" existence, but acknowledges Antony's hunger "for the colours of life." (129)
The spatial metaphors of this subtle and accomplished text deserve additional comment. Although she prefers "the wide, open space beneath our windows" and "freer" parks and gardens, Marie-Marguerite is more readily associated with closed rooms or churches, with their "furniture" of the dead. Antony tends to disrupt her physical space: In March 1714, he shatters the quiet of the church of Saint Vaast; when he redecorates the "chief salon" of the Pater house, it ceases to be her room and becomes, instead, "that Watteau chamber." (130) Even the journal, as a textual space, carries a trace of claustrophobic containment. Gradually, sadly, she becomes aware of the entrapment that characterizes her life. But unlike the sparrow in Bede's story; she is permanently, not temporarily, confined. (131) In June 1716, she envisions Antony in Paris, at the "townhouse of M. de Crozat" with its "large garden about it":
I fancy Antony fled thither for a few moments, from the visitors who weary him; breathing the freshness of that dewy garden in the very midst of Paris. As for me, I suffocate this summer afternoon in this pretty Watteau chamber of ours, where Jean-Baptiste is at work so contentedly. (132)
Repeatedly, Antony must undergo the experience in her imagina-tion--that is, textually--before she can discover the truth of the event or circumstance in and for her own life. It is Marie-Marguerite who is contained within the "sheltered garden" of her culture's sex-gender system. The fact that the room that stifles her is the scene of her sibling's artwork will be addressed momentarily. Literally and figuratively, she is trapped within the house, while Jean-Baptiste productively inhabits the House Beautiful.
Just as the Hymn to Demeter summarizes a series of displacements in the Olympian and mortal realms, "A Prince of Court Painters" enacts multiple displacements that threaten to destabilize identity. Although historically a part of Flanders, Valenciennes had been governed by the Spaniards in the seventeenth century; as the narrative begins, France had assumed control only recently: "French people as we are become," Marie-Marguerite observes in June 1705, "we are still old Flemish, if not at heart, yet on the surface. Even in French Flanders ... there is noticeable a minute and scrupulous air of care-taking and neatness. Antony Watteau remarks this more than ever on returning to Valenciennes, and savours greatly, after his lodgings in Paris, our Flemish cleanliness." (133) Antony always seems to live in other people's houses; satisfied with neither Valenciennes nor Paris for very long; he even samples England in an effort to find a congenial place to live and work. He never succeeds. Marie-Marguerite's displacements are "at heart" rather than physical; she never moves from her parents' house. But in her journal, she removes herself from the centre of her own textual life. Within individual entries, her thoughts and feelings are typically withheld or displaced until the end.
The story's paratextual elements are designed to intensify the illusion of verisimilitude. The subtitle promises us "extracts from an old French journal"; the specificity of dated entries suggests a confessional as well as chronological authenticity. But consider the ways in which the fictional editor has compounded the effacement that marks Marie-Marguerite's life. The disenfranchising title, "A Prince of Court Painters," is presumably the editor's. I would agree with Candido that the text asks us to presume that the "editor consciously extracted [the entries] from a larger body of material," but we interpret such a scenario differently. (134) If one accepts that the text enables the editor to foreground his own interpretive skills, "his own art of biographical editing and ... sympathetic insights into Watteau," is this a "visionary" artistic intervention or yet another act of erasure? (135)
Pater's choice of a female narrator confined to a domestic realm reifies Victorian sphere ideology. (136) But Marie-Marguerite, the young villager, is also a brilliant foil for the Watteau canon. She is wholly antithetical to the female figures who populate many of the paintings, the "typical" eighteenth-century women described by the Goncourts in La Femme au Dix-Huitieme Siecle (1862). Edmond and Jules Goncourt edited the 1861 volume that resurrected Watteau's name for connoisseur and critic alike. (137) La Femme was one installment in a four-part history of French society (the other volumes were L'Homme, L'Etat, and Paris). The chapter entitled "L'Amour" suggests that the typical femme was known for her voluptuousness, inviting manner of dress, and tenderness of mien. Her sexual availability was also predominant: "Il faut le dire: la pudeur de la femme du dix-huitieme slide ignorait bien des modesties acquises depuis elle par la pudeur de son sexe." (138) Marie-Marguerite's chaste and almost ascetic mode of being functions as an ongoing critique of Watteau's preoccupations.
The journal entry for March 1715 applauds Jean-Baptiste Pater's "wonderful self-effacement" as a painter. Marie-Marguerite's "self-effacement" is wonderful in the sense that we are amazed and also appalled by it. Even her emotions are luxuries that she has schooled herself to resist. In March 1713 we are told of Jean-Baptiste's imminent departure for Paris (and Antony's studio): "my sisters weeping much. I know better how to control myself." (139) Marie-Marguerite's lack of mobility effectively highlights the artistic and physical restlessness that characterize Antony's adult life. His life is literally consumed by tuberculosis; her life, figuratively, is a slow process of wasting away.
Although Antony Watteau refuses, for years, to tutor Jean-Baptiste Pater, he is the unwitting occasion of Marie-Marguerite's most "unspeakably sad" moments of self-awareness. I shall quote the first of these in full to demonstrate the narrative nuances that characterize all such painful awakenings.
September 1714). Will Antony ever accomplish that long-pondered journey to Italy? For his own sake, I should be glad he might. Yet it seems desolately far, across those great hills and plains. I remember how I formed a plan for providing him with a sum sufficient for the purpose. But that he no longer needs. With myself, how to get through time becomes sometimes the question,--unavoidably; though it strikes me as a thing unspeakably sad in a life so short as ours. The sullenness of a long wet day is yielding just now to an outburst of watery sunset, which strikes from the far horizon of this quiet world of ours.... The walk [to Saint Vaast] is a longer one, and I have a fancy always that I may meet Antony Watteau there again, any time; just as, when a child, having found one day a tiny box in the shape of silver coin, for long afterwards I used to try every piece of money that came into my hands, expecting it to open. (140)
Typically, the entry begins with returns to the subject of Antony. His adventurous travels are juxtaposed with the tedious sameness of her existence, a life that will never "open" up to reveal a great prize. She would give anything to be the currency in his economy of desire, but her affections have proved to be virtually worthless. This entry occupies the physical and thematic heart of the story; thereafter, she is conscious of her life in a way that is revealing but also self-lacerating. Rather than support her brother's artistic career, she immures herself in it. "So Jean-Baptiste's work," she observes in October 1714, "in its nearness to [Antony's], may stand, for the future, as the central interest of my life. I bury myself in that." In the subsequent entry her gendered identity is emphasized: "If I understand anything of these matters, Antony Watteau paints that delicate life of Paris so excellently, with so much spirit, partly because, after all, he looks down upon or despises it. To persuade myself of that, is my womanly satisfaction for his preference--his apparent preference--for a world so different from mine." (141)
Some final words about preferences and portraits will conclude this discussion. Antony Watteau was astute enough to paint M. Pater's portrait in order to molify his old teacher--the redecorated family salon had upset him--but too uncaring or busy to complete the portrait of Marie-Marguerite. "My own portrait remains unfinished at his sudden departure" is perhaps the most forlorn sentence in the story. (142) A woman's identity is usually incomplete in patriarchal culture; Marie-Marguerite wants nothing more than to live fulfilled by and for others. In chronicling Watteau's life, she encounters and writes her own. Ironically, she becomes a creative person (and an astute critic of Watteau's artwork), but never recognizes herself in such a productive role. Antony may be the great object of her desire, but the latter goes far beyond the erotic. More profoundly, he represents the ability to desire and to act--to enjoy an agency that she denies herself, as she has been taught. Which brings us to the other portraits. The journal entry for June 1718 atypically expresses anger, frustration, and jealousy:
And he has allowed that Mademoiselle Rosalba--'ce bel esprit'--who can discourse upon the arts like a master, to paint his portrait: has painted hers in return! She holds a lapful of white roses with her two hands. Rosa Alba--himself has inscribed it! It will be engraved, to circulate and perpetuate it the better. One's journal, here in one's solitude, is of service at least in this, that it affords an escape for vain regrets, angers, impatience. One puts this and that angry spasm into it, and is delivered from it so. (143)
The 'I' has suddenly disappeared from the journal, replaced in white-hot anger by a "one" who struggles for self-control. It is as if Marie-Marguerite disintegrates within as the implications of the news are assimilated.
On the surface, Marie-Marguerite seems jealous of the "other" woman, Rosalba Carriera. Antony could not be bothered to finish the portrait of an old friend, but for the Mademoiselle and M. Crozat, he is only too willing to oblige. But Marie-Marguerite's "angry spasm," I would suggest, is much more than romantic pique. Carriera (1675-1757), a Venetian, was "the first artist of the century to fully explore the possibilities of pastel as a medium uniquely suited to the early eighteenth-century search for an art of surface elegance and sensation. She and Pellegrini [her brother-in-law] ... played a key role in popularizing the Rococo manner in France and later England, where George III was a major collector of her work." (144) Unanimously elected to the Academie Royale in October 1720, she was the most successful woman painter in the first half of the century. As Graselli and Rosenberg point out, Watteau was so impressed with her accomplishments that he arranged for them to exchange a work each (Carriera resided in Paris during 1720--1721). (145) Watteau made several drawings of Carriera, but a formal "portrait" does not exist. Carriera, on the other hand, created at least one stunning pastel portrait of Watteau. (146) And that, I would suggest, is the profound source of Marie-Marguerite's anguish. Carriera, a woman, is an accomplished artist. She travels throughout Europe; converses, learnedly, with other painters who respect her; enjoys a visible, public, productive life. Not only has she broken through the gender barriers that shape Marie-Marguerite's life, she has proven them to be social and cultural impositions rather than natural circumstances. In effect, she has rewritten the conduct manual for agented females--but Marie-Marguerite Pater was never given a copy. (Carriera was also an informative diarist; the volumes are now housed in the Laurentian Library of Florence. Her diary was published in French by Sensier in 1865.) (147)
Watteau's paintings of the beau monde in the first two decades of the eighteenth century vividly yet charmingly expose the artificiality of court life. For late twentieth-century readers, Pater's "A Prince of Court Painters" reveals the artificiality of gender scripts that nonetheless constitute lived reality for most people. Female subjectivity did not continue to interest the Oxford don after the mid-1880s. Yet texts such as "A Prince of Court Painters" and "The Myth of Demeter and Persephone" have much to teach us about the construction of identity, the possibilities of empowerment, and the costs of subjugation. In an entirely different context, Pater once commented that "the usages of patriarchal life change." (148) As I hope this essay has demonstrated, the usages for patriarchal texts can be diverse and multiple, and identify new directions for change.
York University (Toronto, Canada)
My thanks to Billie Inman and David DeLaura for their astute editorial comments.
(1) Pater, The Renaissance (London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 132.
(2) Pater, Greek Studies (London: Macmillan, 1910), pp. 102-103.
(3) Rita Felski, "The Counterdiscourse of the Feminine in Three Texts by Wilde, Huysmans, and Sacher-Masoch," PMLA 106 (1991): 1099.
(4) The Renaissance, p. 119.
(5) The Renaissance, p. 119. Few critics have disagreed with Monsman's assertion that "Pater simply cannot draw convincing characters.... Pater's subsidiary figures are frankly two-dimensional. In the portrayal of women, Pater's limitations are particularly evident. Only Marie-Marguerite in the Watteau portrait is a central feminine character, and she is never named. Cecilia in Marius and Colombe in Gaston have, seemingly, both been flattened.... whereas such femmes fatales as La Gioconda in the da Vinci portrait, Faustina in Marius, and Phaedra in 'Hippolytus,' although they have a certain depth which the others lack, are hardly normal women--hardly women at all, one might say" (Monsman, Pater's Portraits: Mythic Patterns in the Fiction of Walter Pater [Johns Hopkins UP, 1967], p. 32). Toril Moi reminds us "that to study 'images of women' in fiction is equivalent to studying false images of women in fiction written by both sexes.... Such a view resolutely refuses to consider textual production as a highly complex, 'over-determined' process with many different and conflicting literary and non-literary determinants (historical, political, social, ideological, institutional, general, psychological, and so on). Instead, writing is seen as a more or less faithful reproduction of an external reality to which we all have equal and unbiased access, and which therefore enables us to criticize the author on the grounds that he or she has created an incorrect model of the reality we somehow all know" (Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics [London: Routledge, 1985], p. 45.
(6) Laurel Brake suggests that "Pater's writing career and his conduct of it might be construed as a trajectory of fight and flight from the cultural and historical 'moment' of 1873-4"; Carolyn Williams has commented on "his lifelong recoil into less and less vivid statements of his original positions"; Denis Donoghue observes that "Pater in his last years moved from a vocabulary of pleasure to one of morality." Brake, Walter Pater (Plymouth: Northcote House Publishers, 1994), p. I; Williams, Transfigured World: Walter Pater's Aesthetic Historicism (Cornell UP), p. II; Donoghue, Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1995), p. 224.
(7) Linda Shires, "Preface," Rewriting the Victorians: Theory, History, and the Politics of Gender, ed. Shires (London: Routledge, 1992), p. x.
(8) "The Counterdiscourse of the Feminine," p. 1099.
(9) The Renaissance, p. 250.
(10) Katz, "'In the House and Garden of His Dream': Pater's Domestic Subject," Modern Language Quarterly Vol. 56, No. 2 (June 1995), p. 167. Katz's analysis of the ways in which Victorian aesthetes and painters utilized female figures to confront and manage contradictions regarding "their worldly and artistic status" (p. 167) should be read in conjunction with Kathy Alexis Psomiades, "Beauty's Body: Gender Ideology and British Aestheticism," Victorian Studies 36 (Fall 1992), pp. 31-52.
(11) Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theor, Film, and Fiction (Indiana UP, 1987), p. 24-.
(12) The Renaissance, p. 226.
(13) "'In the House and Garden of His Dream," p. 171. "The task Pater encountered in fashioning an authoritative aesthetic subject," she explains, "was to incorporate domesticity's cultural promise of separation from the vicissitudes of the public realm while avoiding that realms more culturally limited definition as specifically female, to preserve his subject's ability to stand for the domestic and for something more general, to link the aesthete with the feminine while rendering him more and thus other than merely feminine--a paradigmatic and universal subject" (The Renaissance, pp. 168-169).
(14) Donoghue praises "that antinomian energy" that permits Pater to "dissent from the axioms of his time without directly challenging them" (Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls, p. 236). Pater's positive review of John Addington Symonds' Age of the Despots, specifically his approval of Agnolo Pandolfini's Treatise on the Family, underscores his endorsement of patriarchy's sphere ideology. See Billie Inman, Walter Pater and His Reading, 1874-1877 (New York: Garland, 1990), pp. 160-164.
(15) I am not suggesting that Pater was insensitive to prevalent socio-political expressions of gender inequity. As Brake reminds us, "Pater, whose sister Clara participated in the fight for higher education for women in Oxford, registered with disapproval this exclusion of women, noting in 'Style' that the 'scholarly conscience' was 'the male conscience ... under a system of education which still to so large an extent limits real scholarship to men' (Appreciations, p. 8)" (Walter Paten, pp. 6-7). Pater would have learned from Burckhardt some of the ways in which the social, economic, and political position of women is historically determined--because in Italy, during the Renaissance, "there was no question of 'women's rights' or female emancipation, simply because the thing was a matter of course. The educated woman, no less than the man, strove naturally after a characteristic and complete individuality" (Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, tr. S.G.C. Middlemore [New York: Harper and Row, 1958], Vol. 2, pp. 390-391). Nonetheless, women were not expected to pursue or produce "active literary work"; they "had no thought of the public; their function was to influence distinguished men and to moderate male impulse and caprice" (2: 391). In Marius the Epicurean, the "elegant blue-stockings" associated with Faustina are slightly disparaged (Pater, Marius the Epicurean [London: Macmillan, 1910], Vol. 2, p. 3).
(16) Pater, Plato and Platonism (London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 272.
(17) Ina Ferris, "From trope to code: The novel and the Rhetoric of Gender in Nineteenth-century Critical Discourse," Rewriting the Victorians, p. 25.
(18) For an excellent discussion of masculine subservience in Pater's later writings, and its crucial role in defining "manliness" and male-male relationships, see Billie Inman, "John 'Dorian' Gray and the Theme of Subservient Love in Walter Pater's works of the 1890s," Comparative Criticism 17 (1995), pp. 85-107.
(19) Susan Casteras, "Excluding Women: The Cult of the Male Genius in Victorian Painting," Rewriting the Victorians, p. 125. Cautioning that "many of us who study the nineteenth century still overemphasize the fixity of the ideological," Shires asks us to consider the "instability of any ideology in the period and the even more radical instability of Victorian representations" (Shires, "Afterword: Ideology and subject as agent," Rewriting the Victorians, pp. 184, 185. Nonetheless, Ferris suggests that by the 1850S, "the informality and salutary incoherence of gender in the early decades [of the century] had largely given way to formalization and codification. Despite the slippage inevitable in any discursive construct, by the 1850s the whole issue of gender was more fully rationalized" ("From trope to code," p. 25).
(20) Pater, Greek Studies (London: Macmillan, 1910), pp. 160-161. The legend of the Amazon women enables Pater to express a number of essentialist notions: "With their annual visit--visit to the Gargareans!--for the purpose of maintaining their species, parting with their boys early, these husbandless women could hardly be supposed a very happy, certainly not a very joyous people. They figure rather as a sorry measure of the luck of the female sex in taking a hard natural law into their own hands, and by abnegation of all tender companionship making shift with bare independence, as a kind of second-best" (Greek Studies, p. 162).
(21) The Renaissance, p. 118.
(22) Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, p. 195.
(23) Greek Studies, p. 57.
(24) Pater, Gaston de Latour, ed. Gerald Monsman (ELT Press, 1995), p. 106.
(25) Plato and Platonism, p. 272. "Imitation:--it enters into the very fastnesses of character; and we, our souls, ourselves, are for ever imitating what we see and hear, the forms, the sounds which haunt our memories, our imagination. We imitate not only if we play a part on the stage but when we sit as spectators, while our thoughts follow the acting of another," p. 272.
(26) Pater, Essays from "The Guardian"(London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 63.
(27) Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, p. 81.
(28) Pater, Appreciations, with an Essay on "Style" (London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 179.
(29) Pater, Imaginary Portraits (London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 123.
(30) Bouhelma, Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form (London: Macmillan, 1992), P. 3.
(31) Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, p. 156.
(32) For discussions of virginity as it represents "the value and propriety of sociosexual codes" and the Victorian obsession with the virginal body, see Lloyd Davis, ed., Virginal Sexuality and Textuality in Victorian Literature (State U of New York P, 1993).
(33) See Dowling, Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford (Cornell UP, 1994).
(34) Clearly, the texts are most comfortable with widows, or women who are no longer sexually active. Both Marius's mother and Cecilia are widowed in Marius the Epicurean; Demeter is without a partner. Michelangelo did not meet Vittoria Colonna until he "was nearly seventy years old," Pater insists; "Vittoria herself, an ardent neo-catholic, vowed to perpetual widowhood since the news had reached her, seventeen years before" of her husband's death (The Renaissance, pp. 83-84). Pater lived in the era of the world's most famous widow, Queen Victoria, who dedicated herself to the posthumous, monumental immortality of Prince Albert.
(35) As Billie Inman has suggested, no other character in Pater's fiction is condemned so wholeheartedly ("John 'Dorian' Gray," p. 97). See also Gordon McKenzie, The Literary Character of Walter Pater (U of California P), p. l04; Monsman, Walter Pater's Art of Autobiography (Yale UP, 1980), pp. 99, 120, 128.
(36) Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire (Columbia UP, 1985), p. 15.
(37) Brake's view is somewhat harsher: "Women appear mainly as mothers, sisters, and would-be partners who are quietly ignored (as in 'A Prince') or violently spurned (as in 'Sebastian'); while Duke Carl's love for his peasant-girl financee is consummated just before their extinction. There are no marriages, and the bachelor status of these young men inscribes a tacit misogyny" (Walter Pater, pp. 45-46).
(38) The Renaissance, p. 8. The first edition has Abelard and Heloise, and Aucassin and Nicolette. Henceforth, the order was Abelard and Heloise, Amis and Amile, Aucassin and Nicolette. Of the three pairs, the third was the most dangerous to Pater, because of Nicolette's spirit of defiance. In the first edition, he left her statement of choice in untranslated French, apparently because he thought it too daring to be translated.
(39) Marius attends the public religious ceremonies marking the marriage of Lucilla, Marcus Aurelius' daughter, to Lucius Verus: "for just a few moments.... [he] could see them both, side by side, while the bride was lifted over the doorstep; Lucius Verus heated and handsome--the pale, impassive Lucilla looking very long and slender, in her closely folded yellow veil.... As Marius turned away, glad to escape from the pressure of the crowd, he found himself face to face with Cornelius.... It was a relief to depart with him--so fresh and quiet he looked, ...--from the garish heat of the marriage scene" (Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, pp. 231-2.32).
(40) The Renaissance, pp. 6, 83.
(41) In the case of Giorgione, Pater cites "legends" as if they were facts (The Renaissance, p. 147).
(42) Brake, Walter Pater, p. 31.
(43) Donald Hill, ed., Studies in the History of the Renaissance (U of California P, 1980), p. 272.
(44) Pater's Portraits, p. 27.
(45) Appreciations, p. 177.
(46) Essays from "The Guardian, "p. 143. My understanding of the sister/brother "plot" in Pater's writings has been immensely enriched by Laurel Brake's recent work on Clara Pater.
(47) Shoshana Felman, What Does a Woman Want? Reading and Sexual Difference (Johns Hopkins UP, 1993), p. 23.
(48) Miscellaneous Studies (London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 247.
(49) Transfigured World, p. 173. Williams thoughtfuly objects to the Bloomian tradition of translating "Diaphaneite" as "the crystal man" because the latter "emphasizes the character's solidity of nature, his relative visibility rather than his diaphanous or translucent nature" (p. 173).
(50) Miscellaneous Studies, p. 251.
(51) Miscellaneous Studies, p. 248.
(52) Miscellaneous Studies, pp. 253, 254.
(53) Greek Studies, pp. 98, 99.
(54) Greek Studies, p. 10.
(55) Greek Studies, p. 37. For Pater, form is always preferable to a "vague scholastic abstraction" (Appreciations, p. 68). The essay on "Style" promises that, "Into the mind sensitive to 'form,' a flood of random sounds, colours, incidents, is ever penetrating from the world without, to become, by sympathetic selection, a part of its very structure, and, in turn, the visible vesture and expression of that other world it sees so steadily without," (p. 31). Plato and Platonism suggests that the Athenian's most significant contribution to philosophical inquiry was a new "form," a "new perspective"--"but then, in the creation of philosophical literature, as in all other products of art, form, in the full signification of that word, is everything, and the mere matter is nothing" (pp. 4-5). Underlying his aestheticism, criticism, and classical studies is a profound respect for Hellenic culture workers who understood "the definite, perfectly conceivable human form, as the only worthy subject of art" (Greek Studies, p. 35).
(56) The Renaissance, pp. 103, 117, 132.
(57) The Renaissance, p. 104. Similarly, after Marius leaves his "white-nights" home, he comes to the "harbour and its lights; the foreign ships lying there; the sailors' chapel of Venus, and her gilded image, hung with votive gifts; the seamen themselves, their women and children, who had a whole peculiar colour--world of their own" (Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, p. 45).
(58) The Renaissance, p. 124.
(59) The Renaissance, p. 148.
(60) Gynesis: Configurations of Woman and Modernity (Cornell UP, 1985), p. 261.
(61) Transfigured World p. 120.
(62) The Renaissance, p. 123.
(63) Psomiades, "Beauty's Body," p. 31.
(64) The Renaissance, p. xii. A lexicon of handling, touching, and fingering informs the "Winckelmann" essay with homoerotic intensity. We learn of Winckelmann's "eagerness actually to handle the antique" (p. 179), a desire couched under Goethe's unimpeachable name, and then have recounted for us the life story of one who initially "handled the words only of Greek poetry, stirred indeed and roused by them" (p. 183) but subsequently "finger[ed] those marbles with unsinged hands, with no sense of shame or loss" (p. 22.2). Implicitly, the reader is asked to connect the spirit that "characterises Winckelmann's handling of the sensuousness side of Greek art" (p. 221) with his "romantic, fervent friendships with young men" (p.191).
(65) Greek Studies, p. 28.
(66) Greek Studies. A similar point is made by McKenzie, The Literary Character, p. 43.
(67) Greek Studies, p. 28.
(68) The Renaissance, p. 104.
(69) The Renaissance, p. 58. Eric Trudgill begins his study by discussing the "horror of the nude" expressed by Victorian writers such as Ruskin, Thackeray, and Dowden. Madonnas and Magdalens: The Origins and Development of Victorian Sexual Attitudes (London: Heinemann, 1976), pp. 3-4.
(70) Pater uses this term to describe La Gioconda. A very Blakean word, it intensifies the monumentality of the female figure, and in that way dehumanizes it. W.B. Yeats borrows the term from Blake and Pater to represent the complex and wholly commodified figure of Maud Gonne.
(71) The Renaissance, p. 58.
(72) The Keefes offer a very different reading of the essay, suggesting that in this third chapter of The Renaissance, "the pulse of sexuality becomes too strong to be ignored. With the Botticelli essay we have arrived in new territory.... The protagonists of Pater's ritual drama are Christ and Venus, and their roles are hinted at in the descriptions of individual paintings." Venus is "alluring, venereal"; Christ is the "mystic bridegroom in a cross-cultural fertility ritual" (Janice and Robert Keefe, Walter Pater and the Gods of Disorder [Ohio UP, 1988], pp. 39, 9.
(73) The Renaissance, pp. 60, 59.
(74) Grote, History of Greece, 12 vols. (London: John Murray, 1871), Vol. t, pp. 6-7.
(75) Simon Richter, Laocoon's Body and the Aesthetics of Pain: Winckelmann, Lessing, Herder, Moritz, Goethe (Wayne State UP, 1992.), pp. 31-32.
(76) Richter, p. 33.
(77) Miscellaneous Studies, p. 30. Christopher Newfield's fascinating essay considers the ways in which a "'feminized' male" actually empowers patriarchy: "the means of this empowerment is submission and suffering that has become associated with a power to mime femininity." The questions answered by his study include "what relation do masculine anxiety, self-doubt, self-effacement, and masochism have to masculine authority" ("The Politics of Male Suffering: Masochism and Hegemony in the American Renaissance," differences 1.3 (1989): pp. 58, 55.
(78) History of Greece, Vol. 1, p. 73. For a discussion of Pater's indebtedness to Grote, see Frank Turner, The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain (Yale UP, 1981), pp. 97-101. "Pater embraced much of Grote's theory," Turner remarks, "in order to transform it, turn it on its head, and urge a role for new mythic thought" (p. 99).
(79) Pater saw Botticelli's Birth of Venus "on his first visit to Florence in the summer of 1865" (Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls, p. 148)--that is, a full year before he began his publishing career. In Pater's era, the sculptural "casts" in Oxford's Ashmolean Gallery included those of the Venus Celeste, Venus de Medici, and the Venus de Milo (The University Galleries, Oxford. A Catalogue of the Works of Art in Sculpture and Painting [Oxford: T. Fisher, 1883], p. 39). By 1874, the Townley Venus was on display in the British Museum in the Second Graeco-Roman Room (Synopsis of the Contents of the British Museum. Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities: Graeco-Roman Sculptures, Parts 1 and 2 [London: British Museum, 1874]), Part 1, p. 45). The Venus de Milo was, and is, housed in the Louvre. For an excellent Paterian analysis of the latter sculpture, see Williams, Transfigured World, p. 90.
(80) Yet another connection with Demeter, because Pater praises "Praxiteles, whose Venus was for many centuries the glory of Cnidus" (Greek Studies, pp. 141-142), the site of a temple dedicated to the Eleusinian mysteries. See below.
(81) So central had this "form" become to Pater's signifying practices that he did not always bother to mention a Venus "fresh-risen from the sea" (Appreciations, p. 242). Sometimes, he merely gestures to "a few faces cast up sharply from the waves" (The Renaissance, pp. 208-209).
(82) Greek Studies, p. 49.
(83) Pater's Portraits, p. 199.
(84) Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, p. 20.
(85) Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, pp. 113, 53, 110.
(86) Marius the Epicurean, Vol. 1, pp. 113-114.
(87) I am suggesting that the Demeter and Persephone project provided Pater with a much-needed opportunity to refocus his critical and creative energies. Since publishing Studies in the History of the Renaissance in 1873, he had been embroiled in several unpleasant situations (negative public responses to his book; W.H. Mallock's The New Republic [serialized, June to December 1876 in Belgravia; published in 1877], private confrontations with Benjamin Jowett regarding William Hardinge, a Balliol undergraduate) and produced only two essays for publication--on English literature (Wordsworth and Shakespeare's Measure for Measure).
(88) Pater delivered his two-part lecture on "Demeter and Persephone" at the Birmingham and Midland Institute on 29 November 1875. It was published in the Fortnightly Review in January and February 1876.
(89) Helene Foley, "Commentary," in The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter": Translation, Commentary, and Interpretive Essays, tr. and ed. Helene Foley (Princeton UP, 1994), p. 31. According to Pater's sources, "in the year 1780, the long-lost text of the Homeric Hymn to Demeter was discovered among the manuscripts of the Imperial library at Moscow" (Greek Studies, p. 82).
(90) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. 2.
(91) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, p. 54.
(92) In subsequent versions, including the Metamorphoses, Persephone voluntarily eats the pomegranate seeds.
(93) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. 30.
(94) Sir Charles Newton, A History of Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidae, 3 vols. (London: Day & Son, 186z), Vol. 2, p. 350.
(95) British Museum GR 1859.11-26.26. The museum also housed the Statue of Ceres from the Towneley collection (in 1874, located in the First Graeco-Roman room), a "blended" figure including elements of Demeter, Ceres, and Isis (Synopsis 1:43). Among the Elgin Marbles, the figures of the Eastern Pediment of the Parthenon include "two women seated on square chests. They are grouped in a way that suggests affectionate intimacy" (H.B. Waiters, A Guide to the Department of Greek and Roman Antiquities in the British Museum, 6 ed. [London: British Museum, 1928], p. 22). From E.Q. Visconti onwards (1834), most scholars have named the grouping (E and F in the guidebooks) Demeter and Persephone. Figure G is believed to be Iris, the messenger of Zeus and Hera who delivered Zeus' propitiatory words to Demeter.
(96) Greek Studies, pp. 145-146. The masculinist, onomastic image reminds us that Pater's imaginative access to female tropes and frames of reference was severely limited.
(97) As Foley suggests, the "female quest is defined by issues relating to marriage and fertility, the male quest by war and kingship. The male quest ends with an acceptance of mortality mitigated by fame; the female quest with a cyclical reunion and separation that also mitigates 'death'" (The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. 104). "The Christian story is linear," the Keefes remind us, "leading toward finality. The pagan legend tells of eternal recurrence" (Walter Pater and the Gods of Disorder, p. 77).
(98) For William Shuter's informative discussion of Preller and Pater, see "History as Palingenesis in Pater and Hegel," PMLA 86 (May 1971), pp. 416-418.
(99) Greek Studies, pp. 125, 128, 134. Pater also anticipated Jane Harrison's scholarly conclusions: The "relation of these early matriarchal, husbandless goddesses, whether Mother or Maid, to the male figures that accompany them is one altogether noble and womanly, though perhaps not what the modern mind holds to be feminine.... Aloof from achievement themselves, they choose a local hero for their own to inspire and protect. They ask of him, not that he should love or adore, but that he should do great deeds.... With the coming of patriarchal conditions this high companionship ends. The women goddesses are sequestered to a servile domesticity, they become abject and amorous" (Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion [Cambridge UP, 1908], p. 273).
(100) Greek Studies, pp. 95, 10.
(101) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. xii.
(102) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, ", p. 134.
(103) Elizabeth Hayes, "'Like seeing you buried': Persephone in The Bluest Eyes, Their Eyes Were Watching God, and The Color Purple," in Hayes, ed., Images of Persephone: Feminist Readings in Western Literature (UP of Florida, 1994), p. 170. For a full discussion of the "traffic" in women, see Gayle Rubin, "The Traffic in Women: Notes on the 'Political Economy' of Sex," Towards an Anthropology of Women, ed. R.R. Reiter (New York: Routledge, 1975), pp. 157-210.
(104) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter," p. 135.
(105) Walter Pater, p. 40.
(106) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. 107; Greek Studies, p. 45.
(107) The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. 81.
(108) Marilyn Katz, "Politics and Pomegranates Revisited," in The Homeric "Hymn to Demeter, "p. 212.
(109) Greek Studies, p. 79.
(110) A point also stressed in "A Study of Dionysus" (Greek Studies, p. 9).
(111) Greek Studies, pp. 93, 101, 118, 113.
(112) Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, p. 274.
(113) Greek Studies, pp. 109, 44.
(114) Greek Studies, p. 104. Stephen Hinds compares the "epic narrative manner" of the myth's treatment in the Metamorphoses with the "elegiac narrative manner" in the Fasti (xii). He also concludes that in the latter, Ovid replaces "all of the stately epithets ... [and] relegate[s] divine power-relations to the background and scale[s] Persephone down to a mere frightened girl who wants her mother" (The Metamorphosis of Persephone: Ovid and the Self-Conscious Muse [Cambridge UP, 1987], p. 61). The eighth edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1855-1860) subsumes its discussion of Demeter and Persephone under the headings of "Ceres" and "Proserpina." Ceres is identified as "the goddess of corn and harvests, and the protectress of agriculture" (6:387). Proserpina, we are told, was "carried ... away" by Pluto; regrettably, she "had eaten the seeds of a pomegranate" while in "the realms of Pluto" (Encyclopaedia Britannica 6:387).
(115) Laura Laffrado, "The Persephone Myth in Hawthorne's Tanglewood Tales," in Images of Persephone, pp. 78, 81.
(116) As Virginia Surtees explains, the original painting was completed "by about May 1873," but remained unsold. Rossetti began a new version in the fall of 1873, but it was damaged when sent to Leyland in Liverpool. But "the head and hands were not damaged, and in 1877 Rossetti cut them out and relaid them on a new canvas ... and after painting new drapery and background and redating it 1877, he sold it to W.A. Turner" (The Paintings and Drawings of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1828-1882: A Catalogue Raisonne [Oxford: Clarendon UP, 1971], p. 132). The canvas was first exhibited in Manchester in 1878, at the Royal Institution's Art Treasures Exhibition. The picture now hanging in the Tate Gallery, London, is the seventh version Rossetti created, a replica of the Lowry canvas. The eighth version, begun in September 1881 and featuring the English poetic text, became part of the Birmingham art gallery's collection in 1927. Interestingly, Surtees comments that "the figure" holding the pomegranate "was originally intended for Eve holding the apple" (p. 131, n.3). According to Virginia Hyde, the "Pre-Raphaelite Proserpine is a pale but sultry-looking queen, vaguely ennervated ... despite spectacular appeal to the senses" (Hyde, "'Lost' girls: D.H. Lawrence's versions of Persephone" in Images of Persephone, p. 106).
(117) Priscilla Johnston, "Tennyson's Demeter and Persephone Theme: Memory and the 'Good Solid' Past," Texas Studies in Literature and Language 20.1 (Spring 1978), p. 68. See also Douglas Bush, Mythology and the Romantic Tradition in English Poetry (Harvard UP, 1937).
(118) Alfred Lord Tennyson, The Poems of Tennyson, 3 vols., ed. Christopher Ricks (Harlow: Longman, 1987), vol. 3, P. 165.
(119) In the twentieth century, modernist writers such as Ezra Pound, H.D., and Virginia Woolf have followed the example of Pater in their Demeter-related texts. For Woolf's interest in Demeter figures, see Joseph Blotner, "Mythic Patterns in To the Lighthouse" (PMLA Vol. 71, No. 1 [September 1956], pp. 547-562. Josephine Donovan suggests that the "transition from the world of the mothers--Demeter's realm--to the world of the fathers--patriarchal captivity--is the central text of the major women realists of the early twentieth century," namely Wharton, Cather, and Glasgow. Donovan, After the Fall: The Demeter-Persephone Myth in Wharton, Cather, and Glasgow (Pennsylvania State UP, 1989), p. 4. See also Christine Downing, ed., The Long Journey Home: Re-visioning the Myth of Demeter and Persephone for Our Time (Boston: Shambhala, 1994).
(120) See also Renan, "Les Religions de l'antiquite" and Preller, Griechische Mythologie. Both are discussed in Walter Pater and His Reading, p. 194.
(121) Greek Studies, p. 114.
(122) Miscellaneous Studies, p. 110.
(123) Shin Morioka argues that Pater's Demeter is one of "two archetypal images of maternity," and suggests that it is the connection with the Christian mater dolorosa to which "Pater wishes to give sole, full weight" ("Pater's 'Maternity' and Sense of an Ending," The World of Walter Pater, ed. Pater Society of Japan [Tokyo: Hatcho Publishing, 1995], pp. 58, 57.
(124) Rich, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (New York: Norton, 1976), p. 240.
(125) Elizabeth Hayes, "The Persephone Myth in Western Literature," in Images of Persephone, p. 2.
(126) Robyn Warhol, Gendered Interventions: Narrative Discourse in the Victorian Novel (Rutgers UP, 1989), p. xi.
(127) Appreciations, p. 117; Imaginary Portraits (London: Macmillan, 1910), p. 6. "A Prince of Court Painters" was composed in the immediate wake of Marius the Epicurean, that "compendium" or "encyclopedia of genres" (Carolyn Williams, "Pater in the 1880s: Experiments in Genre," Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies 4 : 39). The imaginary portrait is similarly experimental, combining elements of the historical essay, art criticism, and life-writing. Anne Marie Candido also suggests that "A Prince" is "an important and provocative experiment in genre" ("Biography and the Objective Fallacy: Parer's Experiment in 'A Prince of Court Painters,'" Biography 16 [Spring 1993], p. 151.
(128) The Heroine's Text: Readings in the French and English Novel, 1722-1782 (Columbia UP, 1980), p. 150.
(129) Imaginary Portraits, pp. 5, 14, 16.
(130) Imaginary Portraits, pp. 5, 19, 19, 2.6.
(131) Imaginary Portraits, 14. This point was first raised by Monsman, Pater's Portraits, p. 105.
(132) Imaginary Portraits, p. 30.
(133) Imaginary Portraits, p. 11.
(134) "Biography and the Objective Fallacy," p. 156.
(135) "Biography and the Objective Fallacy," pp. 156, 151.
(136) Such a subjugated life is translated to Normandy for the "English Poet": His mother is a "consumptive girl" whose life is characterized by "such strange yearnings" (Pater, "Imaginary Portraits. 2. An English Poet," ed. May Ottley, The Fortnightly Review n.s. 135 (1 April 1931), p. 439.
(137) L'Art du Dix-Huitieme Siecle (Paris: Rapilly, Libraire & Marchand d'Estampes). More than one hundred and sixty years after Watteau's death, Pater's story definitely contributed to a revival of interest in his life and oeuvre. In the eighteenth century, there were two minor publications devoted to Watteau in 1735 and 1744, and then M. le Comte de Caylus' presentation to the French Academy on 3 February 1748 (Vie d'Antoine Watteau, Peintre de Figures et de Paysages, Sujets Galants et Modernes). It is the text of the latter that the Goncourts republished in the 1860s. Edmond Goncourt's catalogue raisonne was published in 1875. John Mollet published the first English study of Watteau in 1883 (Watteau [London: Sampson, Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington]). Watteau is not mentioned in the eighth (1855-1860), combined ninth and tenth (1902), nor the celebrated eleventh (1910-1911) edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannia. Public exhibitions of Warteau's work were rare until the later nineteenth century. The Pilgrimage to the Isle of Cythera was "the only Watteau picture shown in the Louvre prior to the arrival of the La Caze collection in 1869" (Watteau 1684-1721, p. 13). In 1872, the "Loan Exhibition of Sir Richard Wallace's collections, at Bethnal Green ... afforded the English public an opportunity of studying a great variety of his best work" (Watteau, p. 77). In 1883, a Berlin exhibition featured "a series of works by the charming 'small masters'" from the early eighteenth century, including Watteau and Pater (Claude Phillips, Antoine Watteau [London: Seeley and Co., 1895]). Among the art critics who promoted Watteau's talents at the turn of the century, the English writer Lewis Hind praised the "calm and cultivated mind of Walter Pater with its rare and sympathetic insight" into Wartean's personality (Watteau. Masterpieces in Colour. [London: T.C. and E.C. Jack, 1910]), and French critic Camille Mauclair dismissed Pater's text as being "whimsical" (Antoine Watteau, tr. Mme Simon Bussy [London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1906]). Interestingly, Pater's choice of narrator anticipates the (essentialist) gender inflections of professional art criticism. Hind asserts that "Watteau is the great master of the eighteenth century in France, a century distinctly feminine. To say that he is the most feminine painter that ever lived is in no sense a disparagement, for to this quality of grace and daintiness, of coquetry and caprice, of melancholy and longing, was united a very masculine quality of craft and originality in craft" (Watteau, p. 77). "To us," Margaret Grasselli and Pierre Rosenberg explain, "Watteau appears essentially an introverted and feminine painter, thus radically opposed to Rubens, who is extroverted and virile" (Watteau, 1684-1721 [Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1984], p. 13). See also Gloria Fossi, "Levite antiche di Watteau e il ritratto immaginario di Walter Pater," in Walter Pater (1839-1894): Leforme della modernith, eds. Elisa Bizzotto and Franco Marucci (Bologna: Cisalpino, 1995), pp. 81-110.
(138) La Femme au Dix-Huitieme Siecle (Paris: Librairie de Firmin Didot Freres, 1862), p. 135. "The chastity known to the women of a later date was entirely foreign to the nature of the women of the eighteenth century" (Goncourts, Love in the Eighteenth Century, Royal Library Belles Lettres Series [London: Arthur L. Humphreys, 1905], p. 25).
(139) Imaginary Portraits, p. 17.
(140) Imaginary Portraits, p. 25.
(141) Imaginary Portraits, pp. 26, 26-27.
(142) Imaginary Portraits, p. 24.
(143) Imaginary Portraits, p. 39. Rosa Alba, engraved by J.M. Liotard from a lost portrait (presumably painted by Watteau), the portrait of Marie-Marguerite Pater by Jean-Baptiste Pater, the portrait of Antoine Joseph Pater by Watteau, two early Watteau self-portraits, and other pertinent works are reproduced in Walter Pater (1839-1894): Le Forme Della Modernita.
(144) Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art, and Society (London: Thames and Hudson, 199o), p. 132.
(145) Watteau, 1684-1721, p. 33.
(146) Marie-Marguerite's June 1718 diary entry comments on a "portrait" featuring white roses, details from an engraving that Pater might have seen in an 1885 exhibition. The engraving, by J.M. Liotard, may have been made from a Watteau painting that was subsequently lost. Graselli and Rosenberg state that a Watteau portrait of Carriera does not exist. They tentatively identify a black and orange-red chalk drawing, on cream paper, as "Rosalba Carriera at Her Toilette" (no. 128), and a red and black chalk drawing, "A Woman Reading" (no. 129), as a study of Carriera. The Stadelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt, houses a Carriera pastel work that may be of Watteau; the Museo Civico, Treviso, has an unmistakable and quite stunning portrait of Watteau by Carriera (Women, Art, and Society, pp. 26, 208-209).
(147) Watteau, 1684-1721, p. 33.
(148) The Rensaissance, p. 202.