This article offers a case study of gendered and collaborative celebrity performance on the cusp of French modernity. A prominent writer and a famous beauty respectively, Germaine de Staël and Juliette Récamier rose to public prominence during the volatile years of the immediate post-revolutionary period. Drawing on the literary scholar Lorraine York’s concept of “situated agency,” I argue for a reassessment of their celebrity as a collaborative performance under specific socio-historical conditions. This article complicates the individualist model propagated by the communication and media scholar P. David Marshall and others that understands celebrity in terms of discourses of individuality and articulations of the self. To illuminate the workings of “gilt by association,” I examine how Staël’s and Récamier’s joint celebrity operated in the realm of textual and visual culture. Although their well-known friendship was not the only reason for their prominence, it heightened their attractiveness and thus constituted a valuable asset in their quest for fame and power.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 56-79
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.