The Portrait’s Two Faces: James’s ‘The Special Type’ and ‘The Tone of Time’

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

These two little discussed stories show striking similarities when read as stories about portraits. Each reveals one “face” of the portrait: in “The Special Type” the portrait is a re-presentation, a substitute for the real; it is also immersed in vulgar reality. In “The Tone of Time,” the portrait is more like a ghost or a double than a re-presentation; removed from social transactions and power manipulations, it de-realizes its painter, turning her into a ghost too. The difference between the portrait’s two “faces,” however, is not absolute but rather one of degree, thus showing the portrait to be fundamentally ambivalent.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-176
JournalHenry James Review
Volume33
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

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