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The Invention of Celebrity


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction - Celebrity and Modernity Chapter 1 - Voltaire in Paris "The Most Famous Man in Europe" Voltaire and Janot Chapter 2 - Society of the Spectacle The Birth of Stars: The Economics of Celebrity Scandal at the Opera "Something Idolatrous" A European Celebrity The Invention of the Fan(atic) Chapter 3 - A First Media Revolution The Visual Culture of Celebrity Public Figurines Idols and Marionettes "Heroes of the Hour" Private Lives, Public Figures Chapter 4 - From Glory to Celebrity Trumpeting Fame Conceptualizing Celebrity Celebrity "Chastisement for Merit" Chapter 5 - Loneliness of the Celebrity "The Celebrity of Misfortune" Friend Jean-Jacques Eccentricity, Exemplarity, Celebrity The Burden of Celebrity Rousseau Judges Jean-Jacques The Disfiguration Chapter 6 - The Power of Celebrity A Fashion Victim? Revolutionary Popularity The President is a Great Man Sunset Island Chapter 7 - Romanticism and Celebrity Byromania Prestige and obligations Women Seduced and Public Women Virtuosos Celebrity in America Democratic Popularity and Popular Sovereignty "Celebrities of the Hour" Towards a New Age of Celebrity Conclusion Postface to the English edition Notes Illustration credits Index

About the Author

Antoine Lilti is Professor of History at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, and former editor-in-chief of the journal Annales.


"Lilti's achievement is highly impressive. He provides a new perspective on the transformations of Western culture in the age of revolutions, and on the genesis of modern notions of selfhood and personal authenticity. And he reminds us that even as we laugh at contemporary celebrity culture, we need to take it seriously, and not merely as an excrescence or a pathology, but as a constituent element of political and cultural modernity." David A. Bell, Princeton University "With The Invention of Celebrity, Antoine Lilti has established himself as one of the most significant and talented historians of eighteenth-century France...It is an imaginative study, at once audacious and theoretically grounded, that establishes celebrity as an object of historical analysis and lays the groundwork for further studies of the phenomenon." Colin Jones, Queen Mary University of London "Exhaustively researched, with in-depth analysis, this book is not a light read, but is definitely an interesting read for those who have more than a passing curiosity for the history behind the rise of 'celebrity.'" Feathered Quill Book Reviews Literary Review

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