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In conjunction with Walter Pater’s unfinished manuscript, “Gaudioso, the Second,” recently published in Expositions (2008, 83-101), a second manuscript fragment from among Pater’s papers is now also printed here for the first time: “Tibalt the Albigense” (circa 1890). Not long after Pater began research for his never-finished second novel, Gaston de Latour (1888/1995), he simultaneously began reading for his imaginary portrait of “Tibalt,” dealing with the prelude to the bloody Albigensian crusade. Like Gaston, “Tibalt” was to be set in France against the turbulent background of religious warfare. But in contrast to the brutality of sectarian slaughter, Pater elevates aesthetic experience to a mystical and Platonically mythic level of enchantment. From his first aesthetic portrait,“The Child in the House” (1878)–a defense of his aestheticism in Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873)–to “Tibalt the Albigense,” Pater’s fascination with the transformative power of beauty and its entanglements at the turning-points of religious/cultural history is the major thrust of all his writings.
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