Looking for Fame in All the Wrong Places
Writers can become celebrities, but usually not for the quality of their writing. John Grisham and Danielle Steele are celebrities; John Ashbery and John Updike are, more properly, renowned or maybe even celebrated. In the nineteenth century, before the advent of film, radio, television, the Internet, and so on, authors could indeed be celebrities. We can all name them: Figures such as Lord Byron, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde. Celebrity and notoriety have evolved into a functional mythographic system, an assemblage of myths forming a complex unity. This chapter explores the concepts of celebrity, notoriety, and fame.
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