Walter Pater, Imaginary Portraits

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The expression “imaginary portrait” was coined by Walter Pater in 1878, when it appeared in a letter he sent to George Grove, editor of

Macmillan's Magazine

, to describe his original experiment in creative fiction, the short story “Imaginary Portraits 1. The Child in the House”. Hitherto Pater had published art criticism with

Studies in the History of the Renaissance

(1873) – something of a

success de scandal

– as well as essays on literature, philosophy and mythology. In “The Child in the House” he reproduced the impressionistic approach of his criticism to create an autobiographically-based tale in which action is interiorised and dialogue nonexistent. Proustian

ante litteram

in its focus on childhood memories, “The Child in the House” has a feeble plot that unravels…

2653 words

Citation: Bizzotto, Elisa. "Imaginary Portraits". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 October 2007 [, accessed 25 July 2024.]

9864 Imaginary Portraits 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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