Walter Pater (born August4, 1839) was an Englaish essayist, critic and writer of fiction. He attended Queen's College, Oxford. His earliest work, an essay on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, appeared in 1866 in The Westminster Review; Pater soon became a regular contributor to a number of serious reviews, especially The Fortnightly, which published his essays on Leonardo da Vinci, Pico Della Mirandola, Botticelli, and the poetry of Michelangelo. All were included in his first, and perhaps most influential, book, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (1873; reissued as The Renaissance, 1877). In 1885 Pater's only novel, Marius the Epicurean, appeared. Ostensibly, Marius is a historical novel, set in the time of Marcus Aurelius and tracing the philosophical development of its young protagonist and his gradual approach to Christianity. Practically, however, Marius is more a meditation of the philosophical choices that confronted Pater, or any thinker, during the late Victorian period. In light of the work's underrealized characterizations and the lack of any but intellectual action, it is difficult to justify calling it a novel in the usual sense of the term. Yet, as a highly polished prose piece, and as an argument for an austere yet intensely experienced way of life, it holds a singular place in Victorian literature. On July 30, 1894 Pater died suddenly in his Oxford home of heart failure brought on by rheumatic fever, at the age of 54. He was buried at Holywell Cemetery, Oxford.