Portraits Of Women Gamaliel Bradford

ISBN: 9780836912470

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Portraits Of Women  by  Gamaliel Bradford

Portraits Of Women by Gamaliel Bradford
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PORTRAITS OF WOMEN Lady Mary Wortley Montagu TO MY DAUGHTER Out, hgpewboKcal fiend I talkest thou nothing but of ladies TWELFTH NIGHT. PREFACE THE nine portraits contained in this volume are pre liminary studies or sketches for the series ofMorePORTRAITS OF WOMEN Lady Mary Wortley Montagu TO MY DAUGHTER Out, hgpewboKcal fiend I talkest thou nothing but of ladies TWELFTH NIGHT. PREFACE THE nine portraits contained in this volume are pre liminary studies or sketches for the series of portraits of American women which will follow my Union por traits.

Such a collection of portraits of women will certainly fill a most important section in the gallery of historical likenesses selected from the whole of American history, which it is my wish to complete, if possible.

There is always a certain impertinence about a mans attempt to portray the characters of women. And this impertinence is not got rid of by the charming, but not wholly felicitous, epigraph of Sainte-Beuves Portraits de Femmes Avez vous done itefemme, Monsieur, pour pretendre ainsi nous connaitre Won, Madame, je ne suis pas le devin Tiresias, je ne suis quun humble mor tel qui vous a beaucoup aimees There is, however, an equal impertinence in trying to portray the characters of men, indeed of anybody but ones self, and though this last undertaking is always delightful, it is apt to lead to even more astonishing results than accompany ones attempts upon others.

While endeavoring con stantly to strengthen and deepen the accuracy of my portraits as regards mere fact, I yet become more and more convinced that their value must be more in sug gestion and stimulation than in any reliable or final presentment of character. Such presentments do not exist. ix PREFACE The selection of portraits in this volume has grown in a rather haphazard way.

Although the types de picted differ from one another, sometimes with marked contrast, still, if I had planned the series deliberately as a whole, I should have picked out figures more rep resentative of entirely different lines of life. A disad vantage, much more marked in portraying women than in portraying men, is the necessity of dealing with exceptions rather than with average personages.

The psychographer must have abundant material, and usu ally it is women who have lived exceptional lives that leave such material behind them. The psychography of queens and artists and authors and saints is little, if any, more interesting, than that of your mother or mine, or of the first shopgirl we meet. I would paint the shopgirls portrait with the greatest pleasure, but the material is lacking. It will be noted, also, that none of these portraits presents the modern woman. Euggnie de Guerin is the latest in date and she is about as modern as Eve. The projection of woman into the very middle of the stage of active life, her participation on equal terms in almost all the lines of mans achievement, are effecting the vastest social revolution since the appearance of Chris tianity.

The outcome of this revolution is something no man or woman can foresee. But its most obvious and perhaps principal effect is in moulding the life, character, and habits of man. Woman already dominates our manners, our morals, our literature, our stage, our private finances. She proposes to dominate our politics. And it is by no means sure that she will PREFACE not end by the subjugation of our intelligence. This feminine supremacy obtains, if I ain correctly in formed, in the kingdom of the spiders and also, accord ing to some seers, in the most advanced development of the planetary worlds.

While such a conquest must, of course, to some extent, react upon the conqueror, it seems probable that the fundamental instincts of the feminine temperament are what they were a thousand, or two thousand years ago, and that the new woman remains the same old woman in a little different garb, which propensity to a little different garb is the oldest thing about her.

As I have already explained in the preface to Union Portraits, the word Portrait is very unsatisfac tory, in spite of the high authority of Sainte-Beuve...



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