Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Nicholas Frankel

Second Advisor

Dr. Claire Bourne

Third Advisor

Dr. Catherine Roach


This thesis examines Oscar Wilde’s “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” as the product of Wilde’s long interest in critic Walter Pater’s literature and scholarship. From its first iteration published in 1889, through Wilde’s ongoing revision and expansion into the version commonly anthologized today, “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” is an evolving work that mirrors Wilde’s enduring relationship with the art and ideas of his former teacher. This relationship is explored in three contexts: Pater’s contribution to Wilde’s understanding of the Renaissance period; the steady influence of Pater’s ideas and persona on Wilde’s other major works from the period that saw the publication and revision of “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.;” and the particular influence of Pater’s Imaginary Portraits on the structure and themes of “The Portrait of Mr. W. H.” Because of Pater’s extensive writings on art, and Wilde’s passionate interest in the subject, many of these intersections occur around the image of the portrait in Wilde’s work.


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Date of Submission