Self-Exposure

Human-Interest Journalism and the Emergence of Celebrity in America, 1890-1940

Author: Charles L. Ponce de Leon

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 0807862215

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 348

View: 3752

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Few features of contemporary American culture are as widely lamented as the public's obsession with celebrity--and the trivializing effect this obsession has on what appears as news. Nevertheless, America's "culture of celebrity" remains misunderstood, particularly when critics discuss its historical roots. In this pathbreaking book, Charles Ponce de Leon provides a new interpretation of the emergence of celebrity. Focusing on the development of human-interest journalism about prominent public figures, he illuminates the ways in which new forms of press coverage gradually undermined the belief that famous people were "great," instead encouraging the public to regard them as complex, interesting, even flawed individuals and offering readers seemingly intimate glimpses of the "real" selves that were presumed to lie behind the calculated, self-promotional fronts that celebrities displayed in public. But human-interest journalism about celebrities did more than simply offer celebrities a new means of gaining publicity or provide readers with the "inside dope," says Ponce de Leon. In chapters devoted to celebrities from the realms of business, politics, entertainment, and sports, he shows how authors of celebrity journalism used their writings to weigh in on subjects as wide-ranging as social class, race relations, gender roles, democracy, political reform, self-expression, material success, competition, and the work ethic, offering the public a new lens through which to view these issues.
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Fortunate Son

The Life of Elvis Presley

Author: Charles L. Ponce de Leon

Publisher: Hill and Wang

ISBN: 0374707332

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 256

View: 503

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Elvis Presley was celebrity's perfect storm. His sole but substantial contribution was talent, a fact Charles L. Ponce de Leon is careful to demonstrate throughout his wonderfully contextual Fortunate Son. Even as the moments of lucidity necessary to exercise that talent grew rarer and rarer, Elvis proved his musical gifts right up to the end of his life. Beyond that, however, he was fortune's child. Fortunate Son succinctly traces out the larger shifts that repeatedly redefined the cultural landscape during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, using Elvis's life to present a brief history of American popular culture during these tumultuous decades.
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Literature and the Rise of the Interview

Author: Rebecca Roach

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 0198825412

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 304

View: 517

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Today interviews proliferate everywhere: in newspapers, on television, and in anthologies; as a method they are a major tool of medicine, the law, the social sciences, oral history projects, and journalism; and in the book trade interviews with authors are a major promotional device. We live in an 'interview society'. How did this happen? What is it about the interview form that we find so appealing and horrifying? Are we all just gossips or is there something more to it? What are the implications of our reliance on this bizarre dynamic for publicity, subjectivity, and democracy? Literature and the Rise of the Interview addresses these questions from the perspective of literary culture. The book traces the ways in which the interview form has been conceived and deployed by writers, and interviewing has been understood as a literary-critical practice. It excavates what we might call a 'poetics' of the interview form and practice. In so doing it covers 150 years and four continents. It includes a diverse rostrum of well-known writers, such as Henry James, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, Djuna Barnes, William Burroughs, Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee and Toni Morrison, while reintroducing some individuals that history has forgotten, such as Betty Ross, 'Queen of Interviewers', and Julian Hawthorne, Nathaniel's profligate son. Together these stories expose the interview's position in the literary imagination and consider what this might tell us about conceptions of literature, authorship, and reading communities in modernity.
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