he first of Pater's actual Renaissance studies was the essay on Leonardo da Vinci, published in November 1869. Within the more technical context of poetry and the fine arts, Pater continues to search for new and more adequate formulas of human "wholeness" and "completeness," especially in the "engaging personalities" of his Renaissance hero-artists. Everywhere in these studies occurs the theme of the abandonment, or modification, or "use" of the old religion." In the search for formulas for his "strange," "singular," curious," "subtle," "exotic," "remote" souls, Christianity, or at least medieval Christian art, becomes the supplier of the "inwardness" that Pater demands as a supplement to Greek "form." But Pater's succes- [230/231] sive formulas for the place of Christianity in Western culture, some of them more conciliatory than in the earliest essays, to some extent reflect, in their mutual incompatibility, the accretive and random development of the Renaissance volume.
It is no exaggeration to say that in his Leonardo essay Pater continues to take his basic definitions and evaluations from Matthew Arnold. Amoldian phrasing is at the very heart of the essay. "Curiosity and the desire of beauty — these are the two elementary forces in Leonardo's genius; curiosity often in conflict with the desire of beauty, but generating, in union with it, a type of subtle and curious grace" (p. 102). Arnold's Culture and Anarchy, which had appeared in book form in January 1869, makes "curiosity" (or "a desire after the things of the mind simply for their own sakes and for the pleasure of seeing them as they are") and the "keen desire for beauty" — the "sweetness and light" of the farewell lecture — the essential components of culture or the Greek spirit (CPW, V, 91, 107, 98-100). Moreover the next words of Pater's essay confirm the Arnoldian matrix: "The movement of the fifteenth century was two-fold: partly the Renaissance, partly also the coming of what is called the 'modem spirit,' with its realism, its appeal to experience; it comprehended a return to antiquity, a return to nature" (p. 102). Arnold's Inaugural Lecture at Oxford, "On the Modern Element in Literature" (1857), finally published in February 1869, had discussed the characteristics of "modern" periods like Periclean Athens: great energy, great freedom, "the most unprejudiced and intelligent observation of human affairs," and "intellectual maturity" or the "critical spirit" (CPW, I, 23-25). Arnold's full analysis of the "modern spirit" came in "Heinrich Heine" (1863) where he underlines the lack of correspondence between the spirit and the needs of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the vast inherited system of institutions and dogmas. "Pagan and Mediaeval Religious Sentiment" also conceives the Renaissance as "a return towards the pagan spirit.... towards the life of the senses and the understanding," a "reaction against the rule of the heart and and the imagination" (CPW, III, 226). Finally, in Culture and Anarchy Arnold had spoken of the Renaissance as "that great re-awakening [231/232] of Hellenism, that irresistible return of humanity to nature and to seeing things as they are" (CPW, V, 173).1
The central motif of Pater's volume, that of an enlarged and enriched version of human nature at the heart of the Italian Renaissance, is sounded in the Leonardo essay. The agitation and restlessness of Leonardo's "sinister" art, essentially a conflict between the reason and the senses, come from his "divinations of a humanity too wide" for the earlier Florentine style, "that larger vision of the opening world which is only not too much for the great, irregular art of Shakespeare" (p. 105). The holistic and inclusive quality of Pater's vision of an expanding human nature is apparent when he makes the Mona Lisa, in what is perhaps the most notorious passage in his writings, the embodiment of the old fancy of "a perpetual life, sweeping together ten thousand experiences," or the symbol of the modern idea of "humanity as wrought upon, and summing up in itself, all modes of thought and life" (p. 119). Moreover, Leonardo becomes a hero of Arnoldian disinterestedness applied to the life of the artist. Setting the ends of art above "moral or political ends," for him "the novel impression conveyed, the exquisite effect woven, counted as an end in itself-a perfect end" (pp. 110-11). The line of the other essays is set when Pater ends by dismissing the question of Leonardo's religion as irrelevant in one who set beauty before all else (p. 122).
Pater's view of the role of religion in life becomes even clearer in "Botticelli" (August 1870). Botticelli's art gives "a more direct inlet into the Greek temper" than even the best of ancient Greek art, because we are familiar with Greek art while Botticelli's art is the record of the first impression made by the Hellenic spirit "on minds turned back towards it in almost painful aspiration from a world in which it had been ignored so long" (p. 48). Of especial interest here is [232/233] Pater's use of this "Greek" Botticelli as a pre-eminent example of Winckelmannian detachment; he makes the supreme "refusal": he is "one of those who are neither for God nor for his enemies" (p. 44). "So just what Dante scorns as unworthy alike of heaven and hell, Botticelli accepts, that middle world in which men take no side in great conflicts,and decide no great causes, and make great refusals. He thus set for himself the limits within which art, undisturbed by any moral ambition, does its most sincere and surest work" (p. 45).
Dialectically, the central essay of Pater's Renaissance is that on Pico della Mirandola (October 1871). The tone is conciliatory, and the central question is methodological: how to find a true method for the " reconciliation of the gods of Greece with the Christian religion." In that quest, Pater, while still accepting Arnold's reading of the Greek spirit and its "reassertion" in the Renaissance, readjusts the proportions of Arnold's estimate of the place of religion in life. Behind this essay is not only "Heinrich Heine" but also, for the first time, Arnold's "reconciling" discussion of Hebraism and Hellenism, in Culture and Anarchy. The overt subject is the syncretism of the Florentine Platonists: "To reconcile forms of sentiment which at first sight seem incompatible, to adjust the various products of the human mind to each other in one many-sided type of intellectual culture, to give the human spirit for the heart and imagination to feed upon, as much as it could possibly receive, belonged to the generous instincts of that age" (p. 18). They asked "whether the religion of Greece was indeed a rival of the religion of Christ; for the older gods had rehabilitated themselves, and men's allegiance was divided" (p. 19). "Reconciliation," "adjustment": these were also the central terms of Arnold's treatment: the Greeks arrived at the "idea of a comprehensive adjustment of the claims of both the sides in man, the moral as well as the intellectual, of a full estimate of both, of a reconciliation of both" (CPW, V, 179). Arnold's rhetorical strategy is to urge this adjustment and reconciliation of Christian moralism and Greek intellectualism with evenhanded impartiality: the tone of his discussion and of his humanism is shown in phrases like "reconciling force," "mutual understanding and balance," "connecting and harmonising," "proportion" (CPW, V, 157, 177, 184, 190). But the startling, and not untypical, [233/234] final ploy is to award the palm to Hellenism. Much earlier Arnold had stated that culture goes beyond religion as "generally conceived by us" in being "a harmonious expansion of all the powers which make the beauty and worth of human nature" (CPW, V, 94); now he shows that Hellenism is in fact superior to Hebraism by opposing "the notion of cutting our being in two, of attributing to one part the dignity of dealing with the one thing needful, and leaving the other part to take its chance" (CPW, V, 184). If indeed Hellenism is not "always for everybody more wanted than Hebraism," still "at this particular moment, and for the great majority" of Arnold's countrymen, it is more needed (CPW, V, 181). Arnold's provocative display of dialectics deeply influenced Pater.
As if matching strategies with the Arnold of "Pagan and Mediaeval Religious Sentiment," Pater quotes a passage from Heine's Gods in Exile (first published in French in 1853), concerning the reappearance, in the Middle Ages, of the ancient gods in disguised form; this theme was to occupy Pater intermittently until the end of his career. (See John Smith Harrison, pp. 655-686.) The Renaissance, Pater says, could not explain this "reconciliation of the religion of antiquity with the religion of Christ"; but a -modern scholar" would hold that "every intellectual product must be judged from the point of view of the age and people in which it was produced." Thus each religion "has contributed something to the development of the religious sense," and they all can be justified "as so many stages in the gradual education of the human mind" (pp. 21-22). This incompatible amalgam of a progressive "education" of the race, after the manner of Lessing, and a total historical relativism seems not to trouble Pater; forgetting the purposiveness, he serenely announces: "The basis of the reconciliation of the religions of the world would thus be the inexhaustible activity and creativeness of the human mind itself, in which all religions alike have their root, and in which all alike are laid to rest." Or he will simply use "historic sense" in two different meanings: the scholars of the fifteenth century "lacked the very rudiments of the historic sense, which by an imaginative act throws itself back into a world unlike one's own, and judges each intellectual product [234/235] in connection with the age which produced it; they had no idea of development, of the differences of ages, of the gradual education of the human race" (p. 22). Like many another nineteenth-century "relativist," Pater obviously draws heavily on the rationalist assumption of purposiveness and meaning in history, itself a hang-over from the Christian eschatological view of history. For rationalist and relativist alike, nineteenth-century "science" has brought about a kind of millennium, a decisive end to illusory metaphysical readings of history and human destiny. All such speculations are finally "laid to rest" in a series that is somehow also a "development," and the "religious sense" remains, as it did in the Coleridge essay, a permanently accessible distillation made from all the ignorant dogmas of the past. For the moment, Pater would seem to rest in the implication that, in the "successive stages in a gradual development of the religious sense" (pp. 22-23), history itself — or at least the historical point of view of the nineteenth century — is the great reconciler of the apparent incompatibilities among religious positions. All of history converges on that more broadly diffused religious sense described in the Coleridge essay.
Of course the allegorical interpretation on which these Florentine scholars were thrown back, forcing various religions to subsist side by side and "substantially in agreement with each other," is merely a curiosity, "an element in the local colour of a great age." But it does illustrate "the faith of that age in all oracles, its desire to hear all voices, its generous belief that nothing which had ever interested the human mind could wholly lose its vitality" (p. 23) — which is not only a view Pater finds sympathetic, but also one that probably sums up his preceding exercises in literary and religious anthropology. More successful is the "Practical truce and reconciliation of the gods of Greece with the Christian religion" achieved in fifteenth-century art; Pico, like numerous others in Pater's hall of notables, is of interest because his own life "is a sort of analogue or visible equivalent to the expression of this purpose in his writings" (pp. 23-24). Even Pico's outward appearance is an image of an almost Winckelmannian "inward harmony and completeness of which he is so perfect an example" (p. 25). The place of religion in Pico's life, as well as Pater's view of a possible reconciliation, remains ambiguous. Pico's enormous, [235/236] if uncritical, erudition led to "the generous hope, so often disabused, of reconciling the philosophers with each other, and all alike with the Church"; but Pico ends up in orthodox Christianity, "an early instance of those who, after following the vain hope of an impossible reconciliation from system to system, have at last fallen back unsatisfied on the simplicities of their childhood's belief" (pp. 27-28).
The sharpest confrontation of the medieval and Renaissance spirits comes with a discussion of Pico's insistence on "the dignity of human nature, the greatness of man." In itself, this is a medieval theme, and it shares the medieval misconception of man's place in nature. But false as was its basis, the theory, when reiterated by a man like Pico, has its use:
For this high dignity of man thus bringing the dust under his feet into sensible communion with the thoughts and affections of the angels was supposed to belong to him not as renewed by a religious system, but by his own natural right; and it was a counterpoise to the increasing tendency of mediaeval religion to depreciate man's nature, to sacrifice this or that element in it, to make it ashamed of itself, to keep the degrading or painful accidents of it always in view. It helped man onward to that reassertion of himself, that rehabilitation of human nature, the body, the senses, the heart, the intelligence, which the Renaissance fulfills. [p. 29]
This is, it seems apparent, conflated Arnold. Pater's "reassertion" and "rehabilitation of human nature" are very dose to Arnold's definition in Culture and Anarchy of the Renaissance as "an uprising and reinstatement of man's intellectual impulses and Hellenism" (CPW, V, 172). Moreover, Pater's four-part division of human nature — "the body, the senses, the heart, the intelligence" — is so close to the final formula of Arnold's "Pagan and Mediaeval Religious Sentiment," "the senses and understanding,.. . the heart and imagination," as to suggest that Pater is consciously countering Arnold's assignment to the Renaissance of the senses and understanding alone. Pater is in effect asserting that the Renaissance is as adequate an expression of the "imaginative reason," as adequate a servant of the "modern spirit," as Arnold's great Greek century.3 [236/237]
Pater's final statement of the problem adds a new element: "It remained for a later age to conceive the true method of effecting a scientific reconciliation of Christian sentiment with the imagery, the legends, the theories about the world, of pagan poetry and philosophy" (p. 36). Apparently, Pater's "historic sense" is really science in action: for him nineteenth-century "developmental" biology and perhaps an emergent anthropology both endorse a historical relativism judging each intellectual product in connection with its own age. How the religious sense "develops" within this scheme is left unexplained. One suspects Pater was unwilling to pursue these themes at length in 1871. What elements in Christianity attracted the men of the Renaissance is not fully dear. Pater only says that the "imaginative" reconciliation effected by Christian artists working with pagan subjects created a new mythology "which grew up from the mixture of two traditions, two sentiments, the sacred and the profane"; the Renaissance did not "ask curiously of science concerning its origin, its primary form and import, its meaning for those who projected it" (pp. 36-37). This tantalizingly undeveloped hint opens the highroad to the Greek Studies. For the moment Pater merely claims that Pico is "a true humanist," one who believed that "nothing which has ever interested living men and women can wholly lose its vitality" (p. 38).
The following month (November 1871), in his study "The Poetry of Michelangelo," Pater makes two important statements concerning Catholic Christianity which indicate new lines of thought. Until this point Pater had usually aligned medieval Christianity with Platonism as forms of "exaggerated idealism . . . . discrediting the slightest touch of sense," and hence antagonistic to the very principle of art. But now he asserts: "Dante's belief in the resurrection of the body, through which even in heaven Beatrice loses for him no tinge of flesh-colour or fold of raiment even, and the Platonic dream of the passage of the soul through one form of life after another, with its passionate haste to escape from the burden of bodily form altogether, are, for all effects of art or poetry, principles diametrically opposite" (p. 76). This [237/238] statement is a significant qualification of Pater's view of orthodox medieval Christianity as an unbroken "dark age" of asceticism; but he goes on to welcome "the catholic church" into a highly ambiguous religious synthesis of his own. Michelangelo lived on into a time when "neo-catholicism," the Counter Reformation, had taken the place of the Renaissance. He was now a stranger to a church opposed to art and fixed in "a frozen orthodoxy":
In earlier days, when its beliefs had been in a fluid state, he too might have been drawn into the controversy; he might have been for spiritualising the papal sovereignty, like Savonarola; or for adjusting the dreams of Plato and Homer with the words of Christ, like Pico of Mirandula. But things had moved onward, and such adjustments were no longer possible. For himself, he had long since fallen back on that divine ideal which, above the wear and tear of creeds, has been forming itself for ages as the possession of nobler souls. And now be began to feel the soothing influence which since that time the catholic church has often exerted over spirits too noble to be its subjects, yet brought within the neighbourhood of its action; consoled and tranquillised, as a traveller might be, resting for one evening in a strange city, by its stately aspect and the sentiment of its many fortunes, just because with those fortunes he has nothing to do. [p. 81]
This "divine ideal" for "nobler souls," presented with obvious sympathy by Pater, represents, at least for the moment, an appeal to a special religious ideal above "reconciliations" and "adjustments." It looks very much like one of those "broader spiritualities" broached in the Coleridge essay: the creeds are gone, but the "religious graces" derived from "the older and narrower forms of religious life" are still possible. At this point the outlines of Marius the Epicurean appear in the distance, though the patronizing tone suggests there were still miles to travel.4 [238/239]
"Luca della Robbia," first published in 1873, is important for the purposes of this study because in it, for the first time, Pater suggests and concedes that the "mystical" Christian Middle Ages did in fact have a vital element to contribute to art. Further, Pater explains "that profound expressiveness, that intimate impress of an indwelling soul," found in Italian sculpture of the earlier fifteenth century. The low relief of Luca and others of his school helped overcome an inherent limitation of sculpture, a tendency to "a hard realism, a one-sided presentment of mere form, that solid material frame which only motion can relieve, a thing of heavy shadows and an individuality of expression pushed to caricature" (p. 54). The three great styles in sculpture have expanded this "too fixed individuality of pure unrelieved uncoloured form" in different ways. The way of Phidias, and the Greeks is that which Winckelmann and Goethe called "breadth, generality, universality": seeking the type in the individual, abstracting and expressing only the permanent, the structural, the abiding (p. 55). The price of this was "the sacrifice of what we call expression." Michelangelo, suffused with medieval feeling, reacted against this abstraction:
when Michelangelo came, with a genius spiritualised by the reverie of the middle age, penetrated by its spirit of inwardness and introspection, living not a mere outward life like the Greek, but a life full of inward experiences, sorrows, consolations, a system which sacrificed what was inward could not satisfy him. To him, lover and student of Greek sculpture as he was, work which did not bring what was inward to the surface, which was not concerned with individual expression, character, feeling, the special history of the special soul, was not worth doing at all.... he secured for his work individuality and intensity of expression, while he avoided a too hard realism. . . . [p. 56]
What time has done to the Venus de Milo, "fraying its surface and softening its lines, so that some spirit in the thing seems always on the point of breaking out of it, as if in it classical sculpture had advanced already one step into the mystical Christian age," Michelangelo achieves by his characteristic "incompleteness, which suggests rather than realises actual form" (p. 57). This incompleteness relieves [239/240] any hard realism and gives the effect of life: through it, "he combines the utmost of passion and intensity with the expression of a yielding and flexible life" (p. 58). This, combined with the preceding essay on Michelangelo, is Pater's most developed and most sympathetic discussion of "Catholic" Christianity and medieval religious feeling before Marius,
Pater had promised a third solution to the problems of sculpture. With his love of dialectical conciliations, he discusses the system of low relief of the Tuscan sculptors, midway between the abstracted "pure form" of the Greeks and the "studied incompleteness" of Michelangelo, "relieving that expression of intensity, passion, energy, which would otherwise have hardened into caricature" (p. 58). This subtle and skillful conventionalism of the fifteenth century, with its tt profound expressiveness" and "subtler sense of originality," conveying the artist's most "inward and peculiar" moods, is temperamentally more appealing to Pater than the Titanism of Michelangelo. However, once he had fully acknowledged, through the figure of Michelangelo, that "inwardness and introspection," which were essential elements of romantic and modern artistic "expressiveness," had roots in the spiritual "reverie" of the Middle Ages, Pater's earlier intransigence concerning medieval religion was fundamentally compromised. The essays on Michelangelo and Luca della Robbia mark an important if partial turning of Pater's antireligious "sensuous" ideal of art toward a reconsideration of Christian "spiritualism."
Another essay published in 1873, "Aucassin and Nicolette," further attempts to heal the exaggerated "rupture between the middle age and the Renaissance" — but fundamentally in the ambiguous Arnoldian terms Pater had used in the earliest essays. His subject is a Renaissance, discussed by French historians, at the end of the twelfth and the beginning of the thirteenth century, "a Renaissance within the limits of the middle age itself, a brilliant but in part abortive effort to do for human life and the human mind what was afterwards done in the fifteenth" (pp. 1-2). The Renaissance was not simply the revival of classical antiquity; rather, it was "a many-sided but united movement, in which the love of the things of the intellect and the imagination for their own sake, the desire for a more liberal and comely [240/241] way of conceiving life, make themselves felt" and which leads to new sources of intellectual and imaginative enjoyment (p. 2). There was a "great outbreak" of such feeling in this medieval period-evident in pointed architecture, the doctrines of romantic love, and Proven~al poetry; medieval strength turns to sweetness, and sweetness prompts men "to seek after the springs of perfect sweetness in the Hellenic world" (pp. 2-3). It is a Renaissance because for so long a "dark age" these intellectual and imaginative instincts had been 11 crushed." This theory "seeks to establish a continuity between the most characteristic work of the middle age ... and the work of the later Renaissance, . . . and thus heals that rapture between the middle age and the Renaissance which has so often been exaggerated" (p. 3).
But Pater is not offering here a view of the medieval "inwardness" he detected in Michelangelo; instead, he presents the familiar view that this proto-Renaissance has no essential connection with medieval spirituality at all:
But it is not so much the ecclesiastical art of the middle age, its sculpture and painting,-work certainly done in a great measure for pleasure's sake, in which even a secular, a rebellious spirit often betrays itself, — but rather the profane poetry of the middle age, the poetry of Provence, and the magnificent aftergrowth of that poetry in Italy and France, which those French writers have in view when they speak of this Renaissance within the middle age. In that poetry, earthly passion, in its intimacy, its freedom, its variety — the liberty of the heart-makes itself felt; and the name of Abelard, the great clerk and the great lover, connects the expression of this liberty of heart with the free play of human intelligence round all subjects presented to it.... (pp. 3-4)" (The connection of the story of Abelard and Heloise with the Tannhäuser legend (pp. 4-6, 15) is an allusion to Heine's "Gods in Exile." [See Harrison, pp. 658-659.])
At the very end of the essay the explicit "antinomianism" of Pater's ideal Renaissance is made clear, dearer ever than in the sloughing off of "hard and abstract moralities" in the Coleridge essay of 1866, or of the "abstract morality we have not identified with ourselves" of the Conclusion of 1868: [241/242]
One of the strongest characteristics of that outbreak of the reason and the imagination, of that assertion of the liberty of the heart in the middle age, which I have termed a mediaeval Renaissance, was its antinomianism, its spirit of rebellion and revolt against the moral and religious ideas of the age. In their search after the pleasures of the senses and the imagination, in their care for beauty, in their worship of the body, people were impelled beyond the bounds of the primitive Christian ideal; and their love became a strange idolatry, a strange rival religion. It was the return of that ancient Venus, not dead, but only hidden for a time in the caves of the Venusberg, of those old pagan gods still going to and fro on the earth, under all sorts of disguises. The perfection of culture is not rebellion but peace; only when it has realised a deep moral stillness has it really reached its end. But often on the way to that end there is room for a noble antinornianism. (p. 15)" (These last two sentences, which also appear in 1877, were dropped from the edition of 1888.)
Pater retreats a step and speaks of "this rebellious element, this sinister claim for liberty of heart and thought" (p. 16; my italics), as found in the Albigensian movement or the millenarian speculatior of Joachim of Floris; but the final quotation from Pater's medieval tale, "perhaps the most famous expression" of this spirit, is designed to leave the "languid sweetness" of this cult of beauty and of the body deliciously in the reader's mind.
Thus this healing of the rupture of medieval and Renaissance ideals is quite illusory. It seems dear that in this reassertion of Pater's earlier views of the Renaissance and of Christianity, essentially in Amoldian terms, he is pointedly expanding and reshaping Arnold's much more intellectualist and moralistic view of the Renaissance — and of "the modem spirit" itself. For example, Pater's "the love of the things of the intellect and the imagination for their own sake, the desire for a more liberal and comely way of conceiving life," is simply a variation of Arnold's formula in Culture and Anarchy, "a desire after the things of the mind simply for their own sakes"; and the addition of "imagination" and "sweetness" and a "liberal and comely" life was amply sanctioned by Arnold's opposing the ideal of beauty and sweetness to the "hideousness and rawness," the "hardness and vulgarity," of mid- [242/243] dle-class English life (CPW, V, 106-107). Moreover, Pater's twice speaking of an "outbreak" of reason and imagination and once of an "assertion" of liberty of heart is plainly very close to Arnold's "uprising and reinstatement of man's intellectual impulses and of Hellenism" (CPW, V, 172). But the "liberal" quality of modern life for Pater obviously took to itself areas not envisaged by Matthew Arnold. A key sentence neatly embodies the process of adaptation: in the poetry of the Renaissance of the twelfth century, "earthy passion, in its intimacy, its freedom, its variety — the liberty of the heart — makes itself felt; and the name of Abelard, the great clerk and the great lover, connects the expression of this liberty of heart with the free play of human intelligence round all subjects presented to it." This statement in part echoes Arnold's Hellenic ideal of "letting a free play of thought live and flow around all our activity," and his view that Abelard, "in spite of all his imperfections," had been one of the heroes of culture (CPW, V, 158, 70). But passion, intimacy, the liberty of the heart — not to speak of the "worship of the body" — were emphatically no part of Arnold's proposed pattern of human life. In fact, Pater's praise of Abelard, in the connection Heine made with the Venus of the Tannhauser legend, endorses Heine's hedonistic version of Renaissance values which Arnold had firmly rejected in "Pagan and Mediaeval Religious Sentiment." Similarly, Pater's repeated pairs, "reason and imagination," "the senses and the imagination," "heart and thought," clearly imply once again that Arnold's sought-for reconciliation of "the senses and understanding," and "the heart and imagination," was realized in the Renaissance. What could be a more direct denial of Arnold's praise of the Middle Ages as the supreme era of "the heart and imagination" than Pater's description, in the Preface of 1873, of the Renaissance as a "breaking down of those limits which the religious system of the middle age imposed on the heart and imagination" (p. xii)?
Pater's "strange idolatry, a strange rival religion," beyond the bounds of the Christian ideal and reminiscent of the confusion of religious and amorous experience endorsed in the 1868 Morris review, hovers between a noble antinomianism and a sinister claim for liberty of heart and thought. In either case, however, the new ideal would be classed as Aselgeia, or Lubricity — the demand for "the free develop- [243/244] ment of our senses" — which Arnold associated with Ernest Renan and the French and which was denied a role in the life of "our higher real self." (See LD, pp. 322 ff.; DA, pp. 37 ff.; and Lionel Trilling, Matthew Arnold, pp. 314 ff.) Admittedly, neither Arnold nor Pater is detached or clinical about sexuality or the life of the senses in the manner of a later generation. In 1873 the highest reach of Pater's view of the perfected life is antinomian and almost mystical in its "prophetic" and millenarian vision of a "final dispensation of a spirit of freedom, in which the law has passed away" (p. 16). In contrast, Arnold, in 1864, felt the "modern spirit" sponsored a balance precisely between "the thinkingpower" and "the religious sense." Despite the apparent comprehensiveness of his ideal of the "imaginative reason," the "life of the senses" played a very restricted role in the Arnoldian vision of man's future. To the end he retains an unbreakable grip on the "strong and irrational moral prejudice" that Eliot sees as playing so decisive a role in his life: in 1884 he insists that The Eternal has guaranteed that the worship of Lubricity "is against nature, human nature, and that it is ruin" (DA, p. 57).8
Last modified December 2000