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Spectacular Disappearances : Celebrity and Privacy, 1696-1801

Title
Spectacular Disappearances : Celebrity and Privacy, 1696-1801 / Julia H. Fawcett.
ISBN
9780472121809
0472121804
9780472900619
0472900617
047211980X
9780472119806
Publication
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, [2016]
Physical Description
1 online resource (ix, 280 pages)
Local Notes
Access is available to the Yale community.
Notes
Electronic reproduction. [Place of publication not identified] : HathiTrust Digital Library, 2016.
Text in English.
Access and use
Access restricted by licensing agreement.
Summary
Fawcett theorizes over-expression as the unique quality that allows celebrities to meet their spectators' demands for disclosure without giving themselves away. Like a spotlight so brilliant it is blinding, these exaggerated self-representations suggest a new way of understanding key aspects of celebrity culture, in the 18th century and today. This title was made Open Access by libraries from around the world through Knowledge Unlatched.
How can the modern individual control his or her self-representation when the whole world seems to be watching? This question is a familiar one amid the the twenty-first century's architecture of 24-hour newsrooms, chat rooms and interrogation rooms, but this book traces this question back to the stages, the pages, and the streets of eighteenth-century London--and to the strange and spectacular self-representations performed there by England's first modern celebrities. These self-representations include the enormous wig that the actor, manager, and playwright Colley Cibber donned in his most famous comic role as Lord Foppington--and that later reappeared on the head of Cibber's cross-dressing daughter, Charlotte Charke. They include the black page of 'Tristram Shandy, ' a memorial to the parson Yorick (and his author Laurence Sterne), a page so full of ink that it cannot be read. And they include the puffs and prologues that David Garrick used to hiehgten his publicity while protecting his privacy; the epistolary autobiography, modeled on the sentimental novel, of Garrick's protégée George Anne Bellamy; and the elliptical poems and portraits of the poet, actress, and royal courtesan Mary Robinson, known throughout her life as Perdita. Linking all of these representations is a quality that Fawcett terms "over-expression." 'Spectacular Disappearances' theorizes over-expression as the unique quality that allows celebrities to meet their spectators' demands for disclosure without giving themselves away. Like a spotlight so brilliant it is blinding, these exaggerated but illegible self-representations suggest a new way of understanding some of the key aspects of celebrity culture, both in the eighteenth century and today. They also challenge many of the disciplinary divides between theatrical character and novelistic character in eighteenth-century studies, or between performance studies and literary studies today. Drawing on a wide variety of materials and methodologies, 'Spectacular Disappearances' provides an overlooked but indispensable history for scholars and students of celebrity studies, performance studies, and autobiography--as well as to anyone curious about the origins of the eighteenth-century self.
Variant and related titles
KU 2015-16 Round 2 Collection. OCLC KB.
Other formats
Print version: Spectacular Disappearances. Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, [2016]
Format
Books / Online
Language
English
Added to Catalog
June 05, 2024
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 245-261) and index.
Contents
Introduction
The celebrity emerges as the deformed king: Richard III, the king of the dunces, and the overexpression of Englishness
The growth of celebrity culture: Colley Cibber, Charlotte Charke, and the overexpression of gender
The canon of print: Laurence Sterne and the overexpression of character
The fate of overexpression in the age of sentiment: David Garrick, George Anne Bellamy, and the paradox of the actor
The memoirs of Perdita and the language of loss: Mary Robinson's alternative to overexpression
Coda: overexpression and its legacy.
Genre/Form
Criticism, interpretation, etc.
History.
Citation

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