Article ID: CBB273897021

"Sinister Exile": Dionysus and the Aesthetics of Race in Walter Pater and Vernon Lee (2021)


The aestheticism of Walter Pater and Vernon Lee participated in a late-nineteenth-century discourse devoted to exploring the aesthetic's role in producing and sustaining, as well as undermining, notions of racial difference. Pater's "A Study of Dionysus: The Spiritual Form of Fire and Dew" (1876) and Lee's "Dionea" (1890) partake of Immanuel Kant's understanding of race as a matter of aesthetic perception, yet call into question his attempt to maintain distinct and essential racial categories. By affirming the universality of anti-rationalistic Dionysian experiences, Pater and Lee interrogate the racial logic of Kantian aesthetics on primarily aestheticist grounds, as part of their commitment to dismantling rationalistic intellectual frameworks that place unnecessary limits upon our perceptions of the world and of each other.

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Authors & Contributors
Allison, Henry E.
Andrews, Kit
Benson, Donald R.
Blindermann, Charles S.
Finseth, Ian Frederick
Frederickson, Kathleen
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Journal of the History of Ideas
Biology and Philosophy
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
University of California, Berkeley
Cambridge University Press
Duke University Press
University of California, Los Angeles
University of Chicago Press
Science and literature
Nature and its relationship to culture; human-nature relationships
Science and race
Kant, Immanuel
Lee, Vernon (Violet Paget)
Pater, Walter
Adorno, Theodor W.
Bachelard, Gaston
Blake, William
Time Periods
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
Great Britain
United States
Prussia (Germany)

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