This essay is a study of two interrelated phenomena, the influence of Walter Pater on two notable postwar European critics, Ernst Robert Curtius and Mario Praz, and the place of war on the imagination of cultural continuity and rupture in the work of the later authors. The surprising presence of Pater in texts shaped by brutal military conflict not only demonstrates the power of models of cultural transmission he developed at a point when his reputation was at a far lower ebb in the English-speaking world than it was on a war-ravaged continent, but also opens up the possibility of recognizing elements that are still galvanizing and disturbing in his work.

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