The Devil’s in Gogol’s Portrait

Gogol's protagonist comes face to face with the temptation of what he wants most.  For Tchartkoff, this is money and fame.  He buys the wayward painting because he falls in love with it, its undeniable expression of talent and of something else: its evocation of the feminine diabolical. What makes this devil -- like so many devils before and after it in literature -- "feminine" is its Asiatic garb


Balzac’s Take on Pygmalion

In the "The UnKnown Masterpiece" Balzac takes up the age-old debate about where nature ends and art begins.  He does so, not surprisingly, through the most classic medium: the nude female form.

About Face: Cranley’s Bust in Portrait of the Artist

The “portrait” in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is upheld by Joyce as textual, communicating meaning through words and associations. His denotative question, “Why own a thing when you can say it?” reveals his bias; instead of upholding the visual quality of the art, shown through ocular imagery and aesthetic, Joyce uses the intangible word to create mental pictures and manifest beauty.

Emma Courtney’s Memoirs of Stalking

The novel was not pleasant to read: overwrought.  Yet, reading this novel is a must for anyone interested in gender play during this time in England.  I was floored.  Here is a heroine -- virtuous, no less -- who throws herself at a married man, drives a husband to suicide, neglects her daughter for love, and blatantly tells off her elders and superiors (men, no less).  To say that Courtney is "a romantic enthusiast" as she "melts into tears" at every turn, is a bit of an understatement.