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Thinking Through StyleNon-Fiction Prose of the Long Nineteenth Century$
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Michael D. Hurley and Marcus Waithe

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198737827

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198737827.001.0001

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Walter Pater’s Dream Rhythms

Walter Pater’s Dream Rhythms

(p.217) 13 Walter Pater’s Dream Rhythms
Thinking Through Style

Angela Leighton

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how Walter Pater, singing master of the aesthetes, constantly pushes language beyond the purely grammatical and expositional, in order to think through an idea which may not be simply recoverable as a ‘statement’. Many critics have pointed to Pater’s stylistic tricks of delay and postponement—terms which by their very nature suggest ‘something’ to be delayed or postponed. What is interesting, however, is the way that postponement might be in the very nature of Pater’s thinking, connected to his philosophical sense of life as a non-heuristic, passenger experience. In particular, the chapter looks at his oddly fussy punctuation, especially his dashes, both as a means to notate the rhythms of his writing, but also as a way to signal pauses which radically derail the logic of thought.

Keywords:   Walter Pater, rhythm, dream, secondary, style, music, dash, list, thinking

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