*He is the second great Victorian critic of the later phase of Victorian criticism.
*He is an aesthetic critic.
*He reacts against the moralistic approach of Matthew Arnold.
*He advocates the doctrine of art for art’s sake.
*In otherwise he believe that the function of literature is
to give us pleasure.
The aesthetic approach according to “Walter Pater”:-
“Style” may be regarded as one of his most remarkable essays. “Style” in general has to do with the aesthetic aspect of the work of art. “Style” demonstrates the characteristics of prose according to Pater. Besides, it sheds light on his aesthetic theory and his principles of criticism. At the beginning of the essay, Pater maintains that there is no fundamental difference between poetry and prose. The style of poetry is as beautiful as the style of prose. In other words, the style of both has aesthetic value which critics should take into consideration:
Pater points out that the real distinction is between imaginative literature which includes both poetry and prose and it gives us the writer’s ‘‘sense of fact’’ and the literature of fact or the literature of knowledge which is mere transcript or imitation of reality. Both prose and poetry are the two branches of imaginative literature and consequently both of them are concerned with expressing the writer’s sense or feeling or enjoyment of fact.
Consequently both of them have aesthetic purpose.
Pater extremely appreciates prose and sees that it will have a splendid future. It asserts itself as ‘‘the special and privileged artistic faculty of the present day‘‘. Consequently he attempts to point out the principles or rules are related to the style of prose since style is the medium through which the writer expresses his ‘‘sense of fact’’ in a beautiful way. First, the writer should be attentive in his choice of words,
The writer, should select faithful, original vocabulary, which should be in accordance with the new thoughts of people.
Wordsworth, for instance, was tactful in his choice of language that suited the “changing thoughts of people and “was to become in a measure the language of the next generation”.
Second, the writer should express his thoughts in the least possible words since “self restraint, a skillful economy of means, that too has a beauty of its own”. In this way, the reader will experience “aesthetic satisfaction”. Unnecessary words should be avoided. In addition, the writer should avoid “tarnished or vulgar decoration”.
Ornaments such as figures of speech should only be used to enhance the writer’s thought.
On more characteristic of good style is that sentences should follow each other logically and naturally. The structure of the work of prose requires an architectural design through which one “for-sees the end in the beginning and never loses sight of it, and in every part is conscious of all the rest, till the last sentence does but with undiminished vigour, unfold and justify the first”. Pater maintains that good prose should be characterised by logical coherence.