Hammill, Faye, Women, Celebrity and Literary Culture Between the Wars (University of Texas Press, 2007)
A comparative study of North American and British literary celebrity, it includes seven case studies of books and authors which made the news by achieving enormous sales whilst also fascinating intellectuals and provoking intense debate. Chapters focus on: Dorothy Parker, Mae West, Anita Loos, LM Montgomery, Stella Gibbons, EM Delafield and Margaret Kennedy. The book explores several related questions: First, what was the relationship between celebrity culture and literary culture, and how was this relationship inflected by gender? Second, how did the fame and commercial success of women writers in this period impact on their cultural authority and on the reception of their work? Third, what kind of agency did women writers have in the determination of their own celebrity images, and how far were they appropriated by the media into particular cultural discourses? The project is also concerned to develop more sophisticated critical approaches to middlebrow writing, and to evolve a nuanced understanding of the middlebrow in relation to modernism and popular culture.
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