Vernon Lee, Influenced and Influencer: Lee’s Aesthetic Philosophy, 1880–1914

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Violet Paget adopted the pseudonym “Vernon Lee” in an attempt to leave her gender undecided in the reader’s mind. As she explained to her mentor Camilla Jenkin on December 18, 1878, she felt that “no one reads a woman’s writing on art, history or aesthetics with anything but unmitigated contempt.” Yet despite being “outed” as Paget by Fraser’s Magazine that same year, Lee became a key figure in the philosophical and psychological debates around aesthetics. This chapter charts Lee’s aesthetic entanglement and argues that a sense of collaboration and comradeship was integral to her work within the discipline. Evidence from her oeuvre presents Lee as both influenced and influencer: absorbing A. Mary F. Robinson’s guidance in the philosophy of beauty and developing a queer contemplation of art with partner Clementina (“Kit”) Anstruther-Thomson in Beauty and Ugliness.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of American and British Philosophers in the Nineteenth Century
EditorsAlison Stone, Lydia Moland
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic) 9780197558928
ISBN (Print)9780197558898
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023


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