Item Details

Spectacular Disappearances: Celebrity and Privacy 1696-1801 /

Julia H. Fawcett
Format
Book; Computer Resource; Online; EBook
Published
London : Knowledge Unlatched, c2016.
Ann Arbor : University of Michigan Press, c2016.
Language
English
Variant Title
Spectacular Disappearances, Celebrity and Privacy, 1696-1801
ISBN
9780472119806 (print-ISBN)
Abstract
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.
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.
Description
1 online resource (304 pages) : illustrations, figures, tables.
Mode of access: Internet.
Notes
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
Other Forms
Also issued in print and PDF version.
Terms of Use
CC BY-NC-ND.
Logo for Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivative Works LicenseCreative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivative Works License
Technical Details

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    a| 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.
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