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The Real Thing

The Real Thing by Henry James
By: (1843-1916)

The Real Thing is, on one level, a somewhat ironic tale of an artist and two rather particular models. Yet it also raises questions about the relationship between the notion of reality in our humdrum world, and the means that an artist must use in trying to achieve, or reflect, that reality. Though the protagonist is an artist and illustrator of books, not a writer, it's not hard to imagine that James has himself, and other writers, in mind.

First Page:

This etext was scanned by David Price, email ccx074@coventry.ac.uk, from the 1893 Macmillan and Co. edition. Proofing was by Nina Hall, Mohua Sen, Bridie, Francine Smith and David.

The Real Thing

by Henry James

CHAPTER I.

When the porter's wife (she used to answer the house bell), announced "A gentleman with a lady, sir," I had, as I often had in those days, for the wish was father to the thought, an immediate vision of sitters. Sitters my visitors in this case proved to be; but not in the sense I should have preferred. However, there was nothing at first to indicate that they might not have come for a portrait. The gentleman, a man of fifty, very high and very straight, with a moustache slightly grizzled and a dark grey walking coat admirably fitted, both of which I noted professionally I don't mean as a barber or yet as a tailor would have struck me as a celebrity if celebrities often were striking. It was a truth of which I had for some time been conscious that a figure with a good deal of frontage was, as one might say, almost never a public institution... Continue reading book >>


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