This chapter offers a brief account of the appearance—in the sense of coming into view—of psychology in American culture in the 1840s. It offers an overview of the shifting subjects of both psychology and portraiture at mid-century. To illustrate its arguments, it offers a series of readings on both Nathaniel Hawthorne’s experiences having his portrait taken (in oil, engraving, and by camera), as well as a selection of his many portrait stories. Hawthorne’s short portrait fiction explore the unique power of discourses of legibility and visual access as they were increasingly applied to ideas about selfhood.
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