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Literary Celebrity Reconsidered

Ohlsson, Anders LU ; Forslid, Torbjörn LU and Steiner, Ann LU (2014) In Celebrity Studies 5(1–2). p.32-44
Abstract
The ongoing celebritisation of society not only comprises ‘celebrity sectors’ such as entertainment and sports, but also literature. As in other cultural fields, the commodities to be sold – books – are marketed using the ‘personalities’ directly connected to them by authors appearing on television shows or being selected for feature articles. The aim of the article is to point out limitations to the theoretical framework used in the study of literary celebrity. We argue for a differentiation in the use of the concept of celebrity in literary studies in three respects. Firstly, there should be a differentiation regarding author’s cultural capital. In contrast to the general tendency in celebrity studies to focus on popular culture, in... (More)
The ongoing celebritisation of society not only comprises ‘celebrity sectors’ such as entertainment and sports, but also literature. As in other cultural fields, the commodities to be sold – books – are marketed using the ‘personalities’ directly connected to them by authors appearing on television shows or being selected for feature articles. The aim of the article is to point out limitations to the theoretical framework used in the study of literary celebrity. We argue for a differentiation in the use of the concept of celebrity in literary studies in three respects. Firstly, there should be a differentiation regarding author’s cultural capital. In contrast to the general tendency in celebrity studies to focus on popular culture, in literary studies the application of the theory has been limited to the most prestigious areas of the literary field. Consequently, a broadening of the perspective is necessary: authors of trade fiction may be conceived of as literary celebrities too. Secondly, there is a need for geographical differentiation, since the scope of influence of literary celebrities may vary significantly. Thirdly, we will argue for a diachronic differentiation that takes into account the changing functions and uses of a celebrity author over time. The main example, the Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf, shows the necessity of a stronger focus on the functions of literary celebrities, for instance in the construction of cultural and national identities. Furthermore, celebrity is important for establishing a more comprehensive literary history and for the complex concept of literary value. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
literary celebrity, Selma Lagerlöf, diacronic differentiation, literary value
in
Celebrity Studies
volume
5
issue
1–2
pages
32 - 44
publisher
Oxford, UK: Routledge, Taylor & Francis
external identifiers
  • scopus:84898458220
ISSN
1939-2400
DOI
10.1080/19392397.2014.887533
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3afc86b3-8a57-415c-bb69-6a865d8dd9a7 (old id 3812771)
date added to LUP
2013-06-14 16:14:49
date last changed
2017-09-04 10:46:05
@article{3afc86b3-8a57-415c-bb69-6a865d8dd9a7,
  abstract     = {The ongoing celebritisation of society not only comprises ‘celebrity sectors’ such as entertainment and sports, but also literature. As in other cultural fields, the commodities to be sold – books – are marketed using the ‘personalities’ directly connected to them by authors appearing on television shows or being selected for feature articles. The aim of the article is to point out limitations to the theoretical framework used in the study of literary celebrity. We argue for a differentiation in the use of the concept of celebrity in literary studies in three respects. Firstly, there should be a differentiation regarding author’s cultural capital. In contrast to the general tendency in celebrity studies to focus on popular culture, in literary studies the application of the theory has been limited to the most prestigious areas of the literary field. Consequently, a broadening of the perspective is necessary: authors of trade fiction may be conceived of as literary celebrities too. Secondly, there is a need for geographical differentiation, since the scope of influence of literary celebrities may vary significantly. Thirdly, we will argue for a diachronic differentiation that takes into account the changing functions and uses of a celebrity author over time. The main example, the Swedish novelist Selma Lagerlöf, shows the necessity of a stronger focus on the functions of literary celebrities, for instance in the construction of cultural and national identities. Furthermore, celebrity is important for establishing a more comprehensive literary history and for the complex concept of literary value.},
  author       = {Ohlsson, Anders and Forslid, Torbjörn and Steiner, Ann},
  issn         = {1939-2400},
  keyword      = {literary celebrity,Selma Lagerlöf,diacronic differentiation,literary value},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1–2},
  pages        = {32--44},
  publisher    = {Oxford, UK: Routledge, Taylor & Francis},
  series       = {Celebrity Studies},
  title        = {Literary Celebrity Reconsidered},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19392397.2014.887533},
  volume       = {5},
  year         = {2014},
}