Gertrude Stein's literary portraits have repeatedly been analyzed in relation to contemporary cubist painting; but the systematic relation of her work to literary portraiture has been neglected. An undertheorized and minor genre, literary portraiture has always carried the burden of a comparison and competition between the "sister arts". Viewed in this context, Stein's changing concepts of portraiture and her experiments with intermediality testify to an increasing self-reflexivity of the genre in modernism, which shifts the focus of (re)presentation to artistic performance. Stein's portraits of Matisse and Picasso are analyzed in detail to show how genre norms are redefined, how techniques from other media are adapted, and how the author struggles with the scene of recognition on which an act of portraiture is invariably predicated.


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pp. 723-743
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