An interdisciplinary collection of essays exploring how our modern idea of celebrity was created in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
We live in a celebrity-obsessed culture, but until recently the history of celebrity has been little discussed. The contributors to this innovative collection locate the origins of a distinctively modern kind of celebrity in the Romantic period. Celebrity was from the beginning a multi-media phenomenon whose cultural pervasiveness - in literature and the theatre, music and visual culture, fashion and boxing - overflows modern disciplinary boundaries and requires attention from scholars with different kinds of expertise. Looking back to the 1720s and forward to the 1890s, this volume identifies the people and institutions that made the Romantic period a pivotal moment in the creation of celebrity. Tracing connections between celebrity and the period's discourses of heroism, genius, nationalism, patronage and gender, these essays map the contours of a cultural apparatus that many of the period's central figures became implicated in, even as they sought to distance themselves from it.
Introduction Tom Mole; Part I. Apparatus: 1. Celebrity and the spectacle of nation Jason Goldsmith; 2. Celebrity, politics, and the rhetoric of genius David Higgins; 3. The physiognomy of the lion: countering literary celebrity in the nineteenth century Richard Salmon; Part II. Sites: 4. Rara avis or fozy turnip: Rossini as celebrity in 1820s London Benjamin Walton; 5. Daniel Mendoza and sporting celebrity: a case study Peter Briggs; 6. Siddons rediviva: death, memory, and theatrical afterlife Heather McPherson; Part III. Gender: 7. Trials of the dandy: George Brummell's scandalous celebrity Clara Tuite; 8. Celebrity violence in the careers of Savage, Pope, and Johnson Linda Zionkowski; 9. Mary Robinson's conflicted celebrity Tom Mole; Part IV. Audience: 10. Patron or patronized?: 'fans' and the eighteenth-century English stage Cheryl Wanko; 11. Byron, commonplacing and early fan culture Corin Throsby; 12. Ann Hatton's celebrity pursuits Judith Pascoe; Bibliography; Index.