Macquarie University
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Literary celebrity from Romanticism to the twenty-first century

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posted on 2022-03-28, 01:59 authored by Siobhan Francesca Lyons
Discourses on authorship have constantly evolved throughout the last few centuries; one of the most notable yet contentious developments in authorship is the author’s involvement in celebrity culture. While the Medieval conception of authorship saw the author as a craftsman, the period of Romanticism singled out the author as a distinctive individual of original genius, and the ‘author as celebrity’ concept began gaining momentum. This trend extended well into the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, and authors remain celebrated figures in contemporary society. Much work has been dedicated to the conception of authorship, as well as to the field of celebrity studies. Yet authorship studies and celebrity studies have, in recent years, merged, giving the figure of the author a renewed sense of importance. ‘Literary celebrity’ as a discipline has therefore been the focus of a number of useful and insightful studies, notably in the works of Joe Moran, Loren Glass, Lorraine York, and Leo Braudy. Yet the specific study of literary celebrity from an extensive historical perspective has been relatively undeveloped. An historical analysis is needed in order to contextualise the celebrity author’s place and status in the contemporary mediasphere. This thesis adds to the existing body of work on literary celebrity, addressing a gap in research on the topic by providing an historical background to the celebrity author. In charting the development of the celebrity author from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century, my research shows that distinctly Romantic conceptions of authorship have persisted into contemporary society. This is the first work to examine and present an extensive account of literary celebrity from its historical origins to twenty-first century media. In so doing, this thesis illustrates how arguments and assumptions surrounding literary celebrity have been steadily maintained. As a result, literary celebrity remains an important, intriguing topic of discussion, prompting renewed debates relating to modernised conceptions of authorship, writing, reading, popularity, and culture. My research examines the continued importance of celebrity authors in light of their long history.


Alternative Title

Literary celebrity from Romanticism to the 21st century.

Table of Contents

Introduction -- Chapter 1. Literary celebrity : a review of the literature -- Chapter 2. Rousseau, Byron, and the Romantic genius -- Chapter 3. Victorian literary celebrity in Dickens and Twain -- Chapter 4. Gertrude Stein, Ernest Hemingway, and modernist literary celebrity -- Chapter 5. Post-war mediated celebrity in Salinger and Mailer -- Chapter 6. Pop art and the death of the author in the 1960s -- Chapter 7. The postmodern celebrity author from Rushdie to Pynchon -- Chapter 8. Stephen King, Bret Easton Ellis, and brand authorship in the 1980s -- Chapter 9. Jonathan Franzen, Toni Morrison, and authenticity in the twenty-first century -- Chapter 10. Dave Eggers, David Foster Wallace, and the New Sincerity -- Conclusion.


Theoretical thesis. Includes bibliographical references (pages 270-302)

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

John Potts


Copyright Siobhan Francesca Lyons 2016. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (302 pages)

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