Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright Page

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-x

Although most of this book contains new work, it also expands essays published several years ago. I am therefore called now to acknowledge professional debts that my creditors may have forgotten—or, worse, think I have forgotten. It is a great pleasure to finally and formally say thanks. I could not have written this book without the resources of numerous libraries. In particular, I wish to thank the librarians at the American Antiquarian Society, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the Concord (Massachusetts) Free...

read more

Introduction: Celebrity Culture in the Public Sphere

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 11-30

In an essay occasioned by his reading of James Eliot Cabot’s A Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James reflects on the reputation and literary merits of the Concord Sage. For James, Emerson’s great contribution, the reason “that indeed we cannot afford to drop him,” is that “he did something better than any one else; he had a particular faculty, which has not been surpassed, for speaking to the soul in a voice of direction and authority.” Emerson’s success lies less in his message than in his manner, his ability to communicate...

read more

Chapter One: P. T. BARNUM: Commercial Pleasure and the Creation of a Mass Audience

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 31-60

In the nineteenth-century United States, P. T. Barnum’s name evoked the most wonderful, bizarre, and extravagant exhibits that could be devised by art or nature. “Barnum” was a byword for the new form of commodified pleasure that drew on the nation’s economic and geopolitical ambitions. More specifically, Barnum built an entertainment empire out of the raw materials of the national obsessions with race, gender, and cultural identity, obsessions he both shared and apparently embodied. His success hinged on his associating his...

read more

Chapter Two: WALT WHITMAN: Mediation, Affect, and Authority in Celebrity Culture

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 61-96

If Barnum established the practices of publicity that dominate nineteenth-century celebrity culture, Walt Whitman repurposed those practices for personal advancement, rhetorical power, and aesthetic effect. Whitman is rightly regarded as the most enthusiastic promoter of his own authorial vision, celebrating and singing himself to all who would listen. Late in his life, however, he doubted whether his songs of himself had been heard. In the 1888 essay “A Backward Glances o’er Travel’d Roads,” he wrote, “That I have not...

read more

Chapter Three: RALPH WALDO EMERSON: The Impersonal in the Personal Public Sphere

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 97-127

Writing in his journal, Ralph Waldo Emerson includes P. T. Barnum’s name on a list of individuals he considers among the worst of the age: “My countryman is surely not James Buchanan, nor Caleb Cushing, nor Barnum, . . . But Thoreau & Alcott & Sumner & whoever lives in the same love and worship as I; every just person, every man or woman who knows what truth means.”1 Emerson’s rancor here registers his concerns about the Democrats, Know-Nothings, and other threats to the ideal society he envisions....

read more

Chapter Four: FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Celebrity, Privacy, and the Embodied Self

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 128-163

On August 11, 1841, Frederick Douglass spoke before the convention of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society at Nantucket, Massachusetts. The occasion was not Douglass’s debut as a public speaker; his remarks at an antislavery meeting in New Bedford just two days before had earned him an invitation to Nantucket, and, indeed, Douglass had been honing his oratorical skills since his years in slavery.1 Douglass’s Nantucket appearance nevertheless takes on symbolic importance in his story as the moment at which he became a...

read more

Chapter Five: Celebrity’s Revolutionary Power

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 164-202

When Fanny Fern began writing for Robert Bonner’s New York Ledger in 1855, she became the highest-paid newspaper writer in America—a fact known to newspaper readers in New York and elsewhere because Bonner advertised it. But readers did not know just how much Fern was earning until, in the weeks leading up to Fern’s debut in the Ledger’s pages, Bonner confirmed that he was paying her a hundred dollars per column. After serializing her story “Fanny Ford” at that rate, in 1856 Bonner negotiated a contract...

Notes

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 203-220

Bibliography

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 221-234

Index

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 235-243