In nineteenth-century novels faces were often presented as indicators of character, Charles Baxter notes, but now, because of cynicism about facial insincerity, fiction writers shy away from describing faces at all. What do we lose when we can’t see a character’s expression? Baxter considers the importance of different kinds of faces in work by Thomas Hardy, F.Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Flannery O’Conner and Paula Fox, among others.
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