Portrait (literature)

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In literature, the term portrait refers to a written description or analysis of a person or thing. A written portrait often gives deep insight, and offers an analysis that goes far beyond the superficial. For example, American author Patricia Cornwell wrote a best-selling book titled Portrait of a Killer about the personality, background, and possible motivations of Jack the Ripper, as well as the media coverage of his murders, and the subsequent police investigation of his crimes.

Gertrude Stein also wrote literary portraits of European painters Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso.[1]


  1. ^ Haselstein, Ulla (2003-01-01). "Gertrude Stein's Portraits of Matisse and Picasso". New Literary History. 34 (4): 723–743. doi:10.1353/nlh.2004.0006. ISSN 1080-661X.