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Byromania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture

Byromania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture

Author: Ghislaine McDayter
Publisher: SUNY Press
Publication Date: 4/23/09
Subject: British Studies, English Literature, Literary Criticism, Literary History, Poetry, Popular Culture

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About this title
Argues that Byron's popularity marked the beginning of celebrity as a cultural identity.

Byromania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture argues that Byron's popularity, particularly among women, marked the beginning of celebrity as a cultural industry. For nearly two hundred years, Romantic criticism has maintained distinctions between Byron the politically engaged poet and Byron the object of obsessive feminine adulation, or “Byromania.” Ghislaine McDayter asserts that this distinction results more from the preferences of critics rather than discrepancies inherent in Byron's poetry. Drawing upon recent scholarship on nineteenth-century politics of sexuality and perversity, this book extends the discussion into the realm of feminine desires and fantasy. Rather than isolating Byron from the mania he excited, McDayter uses unpublished fan letters and anonymous contemporary poetry to argue that it was precisely Byron's involvement with popular culture and feminine hysteria that in part made him so politically influential. In essence, Byromania marked the emergence of a celebrity culture and a feminization of popular culture that has endured to the present day.
About author
Ghislaine McDayter ---
Ghislaine McDayter is Associate Professor of English Literature at Bucknell University. She is the editor of Untrodden Regions of the Mind: Romanticism and Psychoanalysis and coeditor (with Guinn Batten and Barry Milligan) of Romantic Generations: Essays in Honor of Robert F. Gleckner.

 
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