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“Reading The Body”: Authors’ Portraits And Their Significance For The Nineteenth-Century Reading Public

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Chapter Summary

The way authors have themselves portrayed-or the way their publishers portray them-has developed in the past hundred years into a statement. It contributes to characterizing the author. When we look at publishers' advertising material today, we can draw some provisional conclusions. If the author is an earnest individual, then the photograph is often in black and white. If we are dealing with a more popular author, the photograph tends to be in colour. The author's portrait does indeed seem to be a way of bringing the author closer to the reader. In Britain, the publishing company Worsdworth Editions recently went as far as to retouch the nineteenth-century portrait of Jane Austen. Through the use of 'photoshop', Austen gained some rouge in her cheeks, and even got a more fashionable hairdo. It appears that a person's looks are becoming more and more detached from their real and unique identity.

Keywords: author; identity; photograph; portrait; publishers; reader; significance



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