The Physiognomy of Consciousness
This chapter explores Henry James’s career-long fascination with portraiture as foundational to his fiction’s ability to imagine new forms of inner life. His portrait fiction dramatizes shifting ideas about human psychology at the turn of the century, especially as those ideas found expression in the debates surrounding materialism, physiological psychology, and the “stream” of consciousness. James’s fiction is more attuned to the body as a cognitive system than most critics acknowledge. James’s portrait fiction plays a central part in the larger reimagination of human subjectivity, psychology, and inner life taking place at the turn of the century, as the physiological psychologies of the nineteenth century gave way to a return of the metaphysical in the form of psychoanalysis.
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