"Un déjeuner avec M. Maeterlinck": Intermedial Experimentation in Adolphe Brisson's Portraits intimes

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L'Esprit createur


The remarkably intermedial circulation of Adolphe Brisson's Portraits intimes places them closer to travel narratives than has been previously acknowledged. This essay argues that reporters such as Brisson transformed fleeting interviews with illusive subjects such as playwright Maurice Maeterlinck into meaningful exchanges; they drew upon associations with time-consuming painterly "portrait sessions" to enhance the prestige of their own journalistic work. By pretending to spare readers the hardship of travel, reporters provided the reading public with seemingly privileged access to inner sanctums while reinforcing the importance of the press for nineteenth-century French society.