Bringing together Canadian, American, and British scholars, this volume explores the relationship between modernism and modern celebrity culture. In support of the collection's overriding thesis that modern celebrity and modernism are mutually determining phenomena, the contributors take on a range of transatlantic canonical and noncanonical figures, from the expected (Virginia Woolf and F. Scott Fitzgerald) to the surprising (Elvis and Hitler). Illuminating case studies are balanced by the volume's attentiveness to broader issues related to modernist aesthetics, as the contributors consider celebrity in relationship to identity, commodification, print culture, personality, visual cultures, and theatricality. As the first book to read modernism and celebrity in the context of the crises of individual agency occasioned by the emergence of mass-mediated culture, Modernist Star Maps argues that the relationship between modernism and the popular is unthinkable without celebrity. Moreover, celebrity's strange evolution during the twentieth century is unimaginable without the intercession of modernism's system of cultural value. This innovative collection opens new avenues for understanding celebrity not only for modernist scholars but for critical theorists and cultural studies scholars.
'These essays trace startling, often luminous connections stretching from Garbo to Gatsby, from Orlando to Elvis, and from Paris through Harlem to the Tobacco Road. More than just local readings of familiar texts, this collection draws unlikely constellations between the stars of the early twentieth century’s cultural firmament in order to divine from them the shape of a modernity decisively shaped by the enigma of celebrity. The result is a compelling study of modernism as itself a part of celebrity culture: an elegant thesis that dares us to move beyond the tired dialectics of high and low art. This book makes an important contribution to the New Modernist Studies while simultaneously challenging us to rethink the phantom concept of modernism itself.' Sean Latham, University of Tulsa, USA ’Modernist Star Maps marks 2010 as a moment when the critical dialogue surrounding celebrity took an enormous leap forward….By approaching the topic of celebrity from the particular perspective of modernist literary scholarship, [Goldman and Jaffe] expand the scope of the discussion of celebrity to include literary celebrity and what they call the literature of celebrity's moment.’ English Studies in Canada ’Celebrity serves as the scintillating subject of this essay collection, which correlates modernist innovation, celebrity representation, and cultural transformation in the early twentieth century and beyond…Modernist Star Maps productively explores the tension between intimacy and impersonality that inheres both in modernist authorship and in celebrity culture.’ Modernism/Modernity
Contents: Introduction, Aaron Jaffe and Jonathan Goldman; Part 1 Celebrity Modernisms: Adolescent Dorian Gray: Oscar Wilde's proto-picture of modernist celebrity, Lois Cucullu; Orlando Pimpernel, Aaron Jaffe; Imposture in The Great Gatsby, Allan Hepburn; There has been an inward change: in search of Eric Walrond, James C. Davis; Erskine Caldwell: modernist manqué, Loren Glass; Gertrude Stein's currency, Deborah M. Mix. Part 2 Modernist Celebrities/Modernist Vernaculars: Garbo's glamour, Judith Brown; In good company: modernism, celebrity, and sophistication in Vanity Fair, Faye Hammill; Reaching for the stars: Jean de Tinan's 'Essay on Cléo de Mérode Considered as Popular Symbol', Michael D. Garval; Leni's Hitler/Hitler's Leni, Annalisa Zox-Weaver; Four Elvises, Edward P. Comentale. Part 3 Stellar Afterimages: Modernism is the age of Chaplin, Jonathan Goldman; On retrofitting: Samuel Beckett, tourist attraction, Stephen Watt; Defiling celebrity, Steven Connor; Afterword, Nancy Armstrong; Works cited; Index.