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Lateness and Modern European Literature$
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Ben Hutchinson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767695

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767695.001.0001

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English Decadence: ‘Late-Learning’ in a French School

English Decadence: ‘Late-Learning’ in a French School

(p.176) 9 English Decadence: ‘Late-Learning’ in a French School
Lateness and Modern European Literature

Ben Hutchinson

Oxford University Press

English decadence of the latenineteenth century can be said to be doubly epigonal, in as much as it is both about lateness and belated (following as it does the French model). Chapter 9 enquires as to how English writers of the 1880s and 1890s differ from their French counterparts—do the English decadents perceive the lateness of modernity on their own terms or those of the Parisians? Through three main sections, the chapter proceeds to discuss the ‘artificial artlessness’ of Walter Pater, the self-conscious ‘minority’ of George Moore, and the epistemological subtleties of Henry James’ celebrated late style. In doing so, it considers a range of other related discourses including Edward Dowden’s construction of Shakespeare’s late style, Winckelmann’s appropriation of the Platonic category of the opsimath, and the importance of the Renaissance as a normative model for rejuvenation.

Keywords:   Walter Pater, George Moore, Henry James, Edward Dowden, opsimath, Shakespeare’s late style

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