Introduction: Modernism and the networks of celebrity construction
The essays collected in this section make key contributions to the rapidly expanding field of literary celebrity studies. Focusing on the moment of high early twentieth century modernity (1920s–1930s), the essays attend less to the embodied author’s often tortuous relation to the category of celebrity — the primary interest of pioneering works in the field, such as Loren Glass’s Authors, Inc.: Literary Celebrity in the Modern United States (2004) and Aaron Jaffe’s Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity (2005) — and more to a concern with the construction of celebrity by closely networked markets, taste communities, forms of publicity, and media (radio, sound recordings, film, theatre, journalism, and literature). While not dismissing authorial agency, these essays, through their meticulous contextualizations of various interwar literary careers, sharpen our appreciation of how literary fame was shaped by the large-scale, interlocking forces of capitalist modernity.
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