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The Star as Icon - Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption


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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments 1. The Candle in the Wind 2. There Is Only One Star Icon (Except in a Warhol Picture) 3. Therefore Not All Idols Are American 4. A Star Is Born 5. The Film Aura: An Intermediate Case 6. Stargazing and Spying 7. Teleaesthetics 8. Diana Haunted and Hunted on TV 9. Star Aura in Consumer Society (and Other Fatalities) Notes Index

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Princess Diana, Jackie O, Grace Kelly-the star icon is the most talked about yet least understood persona. The object of adoration, fantasy, and cult obsession, the star icon is a celebrity, yet she is also something more: a dazzling figure at the center of a media pantomime that is at once voyeuristic and zealously guarded. With skill and humor, Daniel Herwitz pokes at the gears of the celebrity-making machine, recruiting a philosopher's interest in the media, an eye for society, and a love of popular culture to divine our yearning for these iconic figures and the role they play in our lives.

About the Author

Daniel Herwitz is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of Humanities at the University of Michigan. His Columbia University Press books include Heritage, Culture, and Politics in the Postcolony (2012) and, with Lydia Goehr, The Don Giovanni Moment: Essays on the Legacy of an Opera (2006).


Essential for those with a keen interest in the sociology of popular culture and stardom. Library Journal A dazzling book... that manages to pack an astonishing amount of detail and depth into a modest number of pages... Highly recommended. Choice The Star as Icon can be compared with Stanley Cavell's Pursuits of Happiness, but is more contemporary and less optimistic. The book studies significant movies ( Rear Window, The Philadelphia Story), is culturally literate, and is very good on the idea of aura and popular culture as it has evolved since Walter Benjamin. Required reading for any course in film studies. -- Arthur Danto, Columbia University An eloquent essay that contributes to the contemporary discourse on celebrity and stardom. -- Leung Wing-Fai Film-Philosophy

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