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Inglis, Fred A Short History of Celebrity

ISBN 13: 9780691135625

A Short History of Celebrity

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9780691135625: A Short History of Celebrity
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"With breathtaking range and panache, A Short History of Celebrity provides a keenly observed interpretation of the emergence of modern transatlantic popular culture. At once learned and accessible, Inglis's vivacious prose reveals the contradictions of icons as diverse as Joshua Reynolds and Lord Byron, the Beatles and Bob Dylan. His insights into the popular heroes of art, literature, and the stage and screen (including television), as well as politics and public life, enable us to appreciate continuities that stretch across two-hundred-and-fifty years."--Richard D. Brown, professor emeritus, University of Connecticut

"Celebrity is ripe for anatomizing, and in this enjoyable work of cultural history Inglis performs an exemplary dissection, showing both the pains and the pleasures, the shame and the virtues, of the modern cult of celebrity. This is vintage Inglis: funny, coruscating, biting."--Krishan Kumar, University of Virginia

"This is a fascinating, remarkable, and thought-provoking book. Its great value is that it doesn't begin with Survivor, Big Brother, or Oprah. Instead, Fred Inglis extends his study back to the eighteenth century and gives attention to painting, gossip columns, and wartime dictators, among much else. Inglis is a powerful and engaging writer and this book is a pleasure to read."--Tara Brabazon, University of Brighton

"Fred Inglis has a distinctive voice as he explores our ambivalence toward celebrities and the phenomenon of celebrity itself. Filled with examples and quotable passages, this is a heartfelt book by a man who is grounded in Wittgenstein yet familiar with David Beckham."--Richard Howells, King's College London

"Inglis's treatment is whimsical rather than exhaustive. Alert to the cultural value of iconic figures from Lord Byron to Eric Clapton, he also offers a stimulating assessment of how celebrity has, historically, involved fluctuating proportions of knowability and remoteness."--New Yorker

"The purpose of A Short History of Celebrity, Fred Inglis' brief, energetic, stimulating screed, is to tell us that, although we think we live in the age of celebrity, it's been quite a while in coming."---Martin Rubin, Los Angeles Times

"Inglis is more even-handed than many of his colleagues, and sager too, able to see beyond the ephemera of the moment to take a more expansive view. He asks not simply what the culture of celebrity means today, but where it came from."---Darrin M. McMahon, Wall Street Journal

"In his thoughtful survey of pop culture since the dawn of modernity, Fred Inglis argues that mass obsession with the lives (and deaths) of the rich and famous didn't just pop up out of the blue. . . . In an attempt to give some depth to all the shallowness, Inglis, the author of 20 books including a biography of the late cultural anthropologist Clifford Geertz, goes in search of origins."---Joshua Kendall, Boston Globe

"With scholarly dexterity . . . Inglis describes the manipulation of political celebrities by the likes of Hitler and Stalin, followed by the postwar democratization of fame, as movie stars, sports heroes, and rock guitarists became leading celebrities. Through it all, Inglis argues the lucrative exploitation of the lives of the rich and famous has entailed an appeal to what audiences think of themselves--for better and for worse. . . . The Bottom Line: The development of the fame business comes into clearer focus as a result of Inglis' sophisticated perspective. Four stars out of five."---Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek

"From the glamour of John F. Kennedy's 'Camelot' to Ronald Reagan's rise from B movies and Barack Obama's election campaign, celebrity makes power, money and the world go around. At long last, we have a decent book that goes some way to explain how it got this way."---Mark Beech, Bloomberg

About the Author:

Fred Inglis is Honorary Professor of Cultural History at the University of Warwick and a former member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. He is the author of more than twenty books, including "The Cruel Peace: Everyday Life in the Cold War" (Basic).

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