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A Transatlantic 'Field of Stars'

Redrawing the Borders of English Literature in the Late Nineteenth Century

Rod Rosenquist

This article examines a map of the English coast surrounding Romney Marsh in 1895, hand-drawn by Ford Madox Ford for his memoir, Return to Yesterday (1931). The map is read as a cultural reconstruction of the shifting terrain of fin-de-siècle literary reputation, representing late-Victorian English letters as a distinctly transatlantic realm. Ford's illustration is analysed as an early incarnation of the celebrity 'star map': it positions authors in specific locations, while also tracing constellations of developing alliances, dividing the aesthetically minded foreigners from a defensive grouping of British institutional icons. Ford redraws the centre and the boundaries of English literature through his act of map-making, positioning his 'alien' literary celebrities – including transatlantic icons of the late nineteenth century, like Henry James, Stephen Crane, and W.H. Hudson – along the Romney coast, a site associated with invasion, fluid boundaries, and shifting coastlines.

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‘Being TED’

The university intellectual as globalised neoliberal consumer self

Wesley Shumar

Abstract

This article focuses on the ways that modern American universities are engaged in the process of articulating new producing and consuming subjects. It argues that the image of the engaged ‘media celebrity’ intellectual, as presented in the TED Talk model, has become a cultural ideal that reconciles a deeper contradiction in the academy. Through a complex process, university faculty and students are assimilated into the globalised lifestyle and the identity of cosmopolitans by participating in a social space that is at once an upscale shopping mall and at the same time a high tech corporate research park. This global elite is forged first out of individuals who make it through the university and then secondly out of those university students who successfully excel under the twin pressures of elite production and consumption. Most student, faculty and universities fall short of this ideal. But by watching TED talks they can aspire to this fantasy ideal through the image of the media celebrity intellectual.

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The Jew Under Glass

The Problem of Being An Exhibition Object

Richard Schneider

The opening last year of the Jewish Museum in Berlin attracted much attention in the German public arena. It was a media spectacle, splendidly served by radio, television and the written word. The Federal President and Chancellor attended, accompanied by German celebrities from the worlds of the arts, science, religion and politics. Rarely has a German museum been transfixed by such a spotlight, as was Berlin’s Jewish Museum then. Gala dinners, gala speeches, a gala concert – the new symbol of Berlin was celebrated with enormous extravagance.

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From Summit to Tragedy

Sulayman Al-Bassam's Richard III and Political Theatre

Graham Holderness

Richard III is one of Shakespeare’s best-known characters, a familiarity independent of the history plays, Henry VI and Richard III, in which he appears. This celebrity has less to do with Richard’s historical reputation, and more with the way in which great actors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries gave the role status and popular visibility, particularly perhaps via Laurence Olivier’s 1955 film version. Just as Hamlet is automatically identifi able by black suit and prop skull, Richard is immediately recognisable by his legendary deformity (mandatory hump, optional limp), and by the famous opening line of his initial soliloquy: ‘Now is the winter of our discontent’.

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From Patriotic Troops to Branded Boyhood

Hegemonic Boyhood Masculinity as Depicted in Boy’s Life Magazine, 1911–2012

Susan M. Alexander and Kelsey Collins

Hegemonic masculinity is a fluid concept that varies according to historical period and social and cultural location. While much has been written about hegemonic masculinity as experienced by adult men, research is lacking on hegemonic masculinity in boyhood from an historical perspective. Using a quantitative content analysis of images on the covers of Boy’s Life magazine, this study finds three distinct historically specific images of hegemonic American boyhood masculinity: boys who serve their country as patriotic scouts in uniform; boys who admire celebrities, particularly professional athletes; and a branded boyhood in which boys wear brand name products while engaging in sports activities.

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Henriette Löwisch

Alice Schwarzer’s name is synonymous with the second-wave women’s

movement in West Germany, and when she picks a fight, the odds are a

shouting match will follow. Admired by some, reviled by others, West Germany’s

best-known feminist has often used controversy to amplify the

activist journalism she has pursued since the late 1960s. She is opinionated,

combative, and unpredictable—attributes all reflected in her 1999 essay on

Leni Riefenstahl, which the interview below revisits. Her sympathetic portrayal

of the filmmaker met with criticism, which is certainly consistent with

the affinity toward ambivalence Schwarzer has demonstrated throughout

her career as an author, activist and talk show celebrity.

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Barbara Franchi and Natália da Silva Perez

The f-word used to be inappropriate for polite company, but today nobody seems afraid to say it, loud and proud. Hollywood stars and world-famous pop singers can openly claim to be feminists; it is now acceptable for mainstream celebrities to emulate that which more radical independent feminist artists have been doing for the past few decades. This gradual mainstreaming of feminism, facilitated in part by easier and wider access to communication technology, is reflected all over mass media. The last couple of years have also seen a number of high-profile female celebrities engaging in feminist political action. When Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson are UN ambassadors in projects that aim to promote the emancipation of women worldwide, when pop singer Beyoncé openly declares that “we have a way to go [to achieve equality] and it’s something that’s pushed aside and something that we have been conditioned to accept,” (Vena, 2013) their voices are heard by a wider audience, one that might not have been reached by the voices of activists and scholars who have for decades denounced the problems caused by gender discrimination.

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Karolina Dmitrow-Devold

Teenage female personal bloggers in Norway occupy the top positions in national blog rankings. This takes girl-bloggers to a place where they have rarely, if ever, been before: a place with massive audiences and media attention that can bring about celebrity status or financial benefits. Operating within a genre of personal blogging that combines accounts of everyday life and topics related to fashion and beauty, they are commonly referred to as pink bloggers. This gendered term is widely used in the media and this article argues that it contributes to a reinforcement of a negative image of teenage female personal bloggers, who are dismissed as trivial, commercial and irresponsible. This article analyzes prevailing discursive representations of the so-called pink bloggers in the mainstream press coverage: popular but insignificant, trendsetting but irresponsible, savvy but vulnerable. The implications of these representations are discussed as well.

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Among the English Worthies

Longfellow and the Campaign for Poets' Corner

David Haven Blake

In 1884, a bust of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was unveiled in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, positioning the American between memorials to Geoffrey Chaucer and John Dryden. Longfellow was the first foreign author thus honoured, and his selection created transatlantic controversy. Through newspapers and correspondence, this article explores how Longfellow's bust came to be in Poets' Corner, tracing the role of its organizer, Dr William Cox Bennett, his benefactors in government and the Palace, and a host of distinguished contributors to the campaign. While nineteenth-century celebrity is often described as a public phenomenon accompanied by crowds of cheering admirers, the memorialization campaign centred on transatlantic elites who praised Longfellow's virtue, humility, and internationalism. The article examines how the campaign shaped the meaning of both Poets' Corner and late nineteenth-century transatlantic fraternity and argues that it also became the setting for conflicting ideas about literature, cosmopolitanism, national memory, and Victorian racial theories.

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Walter Benjamin

The Consolation of History in a Paris Exile

Patrick H. Hutton

Walter Benjamin, a Jewish German literary critic of modest reputation during the interwar years, has become an intellectual celebrity in our times. In flight from Nazi Germany, he took refuge in Paris during the 1930s before dying in 1940 in a vain effort to escape to America. In this essay, I analyze his ideas as conceived in his Paris exile, with particular attention to his turn to the topics of memory and of history and of the relationship between them. I close with some thoughts on how his ideas about memory's redeeming power played into the humanist Marxism of the intellectuals of the 1960s and subsequently the preoccupation with memory in late twentieth-century scholarship.