“The memory of the grave into which he had gazed so steadily on the execution morning, into which, as he feels, one half of himself had then descended, does not lessen his shrinking from the fate before him, yet fortifies him to face it manfully, gives a sort of fraternal familiarity to death . . .”
In an idealized memory of childhood, a young boy’s awareness of the world around him blossoms–an awareness of beauty and wonder, but also of death . . .
The meeting of a mysterious stranger and a fanciful young woman results in the auspicious birth of a child with the soul of a poet . . .
A submissive youth from a venerable family goes off to school and befriends a kindred spirit, but when war breaks out the two join the army and make a fateful decision that will forever change the course of their lives . . .
Walter Pater wrote a series of what he termed “Imaginary Portraits,” a type of literary vignette of his own devising that masterfully blended elements of biography, prose poem, and short story. While most of the Portraits take the form of historical recreations, the three collected in this edition are contemporary to Pater’s own time and are perhaps the most autobiographical. Previously appearing in the posthumous Miscellaneous Studies, The Child in the House and Emerald Uthwart are better served thematically in a separate volume. They are reprinted here along with An English Poet, a nearly forgotten, unfinished, and unpublished Portrait of Pater’s that appears in book form for the first time.