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Vernon Lee

Vernon Lee was the pseudonym of the British writer Violet Paget (1856 – 1935). She is now known mostly for her supernatural fiction; she wrote also essays and poetry; she contributed to The Yellow Book. She was a follower of Walter Pater.An engaged feminist, she always dressed á la garçonne, and was a member of the Union of democratic control[1].Her literary works explored the themes of haunting and possession. The English writer and translator, Montague Summers described Vernon Lee as "the greatest [...] of modern exponents of the supernatural in fiction."[2]She was responsible for introducing the concept of empathy (Einfühling) into the English language. Empathy was a key concept in Lee's psychological aesthetics which she developed on the basis of prior work by Theodor Lipps. Her response to aesthetics interpreted art as a mental and corporeal experience. This was a significant contribution to the philosophy of art which has been largely neglected."The Lie of the Land", in the voume "Limbo, and other Essays", has been one of the most influential essays on landscaping.Additionally she wrote, along with her friend and colleague Henry James, critically about the relationship between the writer and his/her audience pioneering the concept of criticism and expanding the idea of critical assessment among all the arts as relating to an audience's (or her personal) response. She was a strong, though vexed, proponent of the Aesthetic movement, and after a lengthy written correspondence met the movement's effective leader, Walter Pater, in England in 1881, just after encountering his famous disciple Oscar Wilde. Her interpretation of the movement called for social action, setting her apart from both Wilde and Pater.


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