The history of the IWPS – University of Copenhagen

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Studies in Walter Pater and Aesteticism > International Walter Pater Society (IWPS) > The history of the IWPS

The History of the IWPS

In the autumn of 1998 the name of the society of subscribers to The Pater Newsletter was changed from ‘The Pater Society of the UK and the USA’ to ‘The International Walter Pater Society’, in recognition of current contributions of European and Japanese scholars to Pater studies. The history behind the formation of this Society and its significance follows.

Laurel Brake and Billie Inman decided in 1977 to found a newssheet for scholars with an interest in Walter Pater in Britain and the United States, as they felt there was duplication of effort among scholars because of lack of communication. Inman would issue News of Pater Scholarship each autumn from The University of Arizona, and Brake, each spring from The University College of Wales. At the 1977 MLA Convention, Sharon Bassett, Alana Brown, Billie Inman, and Gerald Monsman decided that a Pater Society should be formed. News of Pater Scholarship, No. 3, which was sent to 110 scholars known to have published writings on Pater, announced the formation of the Society at the 1978 MLA Convention. It was decided that the name of the publication would be changed from News of Pater Scholarship to The Pater Newsletter and that all subscribers would be, ipso facto, members of the Society. A committee was chosen to propose a special session at the 1979 MLA Convention. Billie Inman reported in The Pater Newsletter, No. 5, that this special session, ‘Pater and Modernism’, the first to concentrate on Pater, was well attended. The speakers were Richard Bizot, Sharon Bassett, Franklin Court, Wendell Harris, and Francis McGrath. Laurel Brake announced in this number that a conference, ‘Walter Pater: Research in Progress’, would be held at Brasenose College, Oxford, on July 16-18, 1980, as the first International Walter Pater Conference. Since then there have been such conferences sponsored by the Society:

  • Queen’s College, Oxford, 1988.
  • The University of Kent, Canterbury, 1994.
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown, 1996.
  • Christ Church College, Oxford, 2000.
  • Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 2006.


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