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He battled with the novel like a true writer, but in the long run it beat him: he couldn't force the novel to stop, couldn't find the true course; the novel overmastered him.
The answer may be implicit in the vehemence with which Socrates denied in the Protagoras that knowledge could be overmastered by its inferiors, appetite and spiritedness.
Yet Donoghue also treats Pater with almost unremitting condescension, recycling the familiar image of the meek, "hothouse" aesthete of brittle talents, who was abashed by his dangerous disciple, Wilde, and overmastered by the world at large.
Line 60 oversway'd ] guided; perhaps, overmastered.