Characterismus typically features in literary works when describing physical attributes. It is regarded as a close relative of EthopoeiaOpens in new window.
Examples of Characterismus
In Ligeia, by Edgar Allan PoeOpens in new window, Ligeia’s intellectual abilities and accomplishments works as an instance of characterismus:
- “In the classical tongues was she deeply proficient, and as far as my own acquaintance extended in regard to the modern dialects of Europe, I have never known her at fault. Indeed upon any theme of the most admired, because simply the most abstruse of the boasted erudition of the academy, have I ever found Ligeia at fault? … I said her knowledge was such as I have never known in woman – but where breathes the man who has traversed, and successfully, all the wide areas of moral, physical, and mathematical science?”— (Edgar Allan Poe, LigeiaOpens in new window, 2:253 – 4)
Also by Edgar Allan Poe, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” contains the descriptions of Dupin’s mental capabilities, typical of characterismus:
- I often dwelt meditatively upon the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with the fancy of a double Dupin – the creative and the resolvent. — (Edgar Allan Poe, The Murders in the Rue MorgueOpens in new window, 4:152)