Dead Famous: An Unexpected History of Celebrity from Bronze Age to Silver Screen (Hardback)Greg Jenner (author)
- 10+ in stock
Celebrity, with its neon glow and selfie pout, strikes us as hypermodern. But the famous and infamous have been thrilling, titillating, and outraging us for much longer than we might realise. Whether it was the scandalous Lord Byron, whose poetry sent female fans into an erotic frenzy; or the cheetah-owning, coffin-sleeping, one-legged French actress Sarah Bernhardt, who launched a violent feud with her former best friend; or Edmund Kean, the dazzling Shakespearean actor whose monstrous ego and terrible alcoholism saw him nearly murdered by his own audience - the list of stars whose careers burned bright before the Age of Television is extensive and thrillingly varied.
Celebrities could be heroes or villains; warriors or murderers; brilliant talents, or fraudsters with a flair for fibbing; trendsetters, wilful provocateurs, or tragic victims marketed as freaks of nature. Some craved fame while others had it forced upon them. A few found fame as small children, some had to wait decades to get their break. But uniting them all is the shared origin point: since the early 1700s, celebrity has been one of the most emphatic driving forces in popular culture; it is a lurid cousin to Ancient Greek ideas of glorious and notorious reputation, and its emergence helped to shape public attitudes to ethics, national identity, religious faith, wealth, sexuality, and gender roles.
In this ambitious history, that spans the Bronze Age to the coming of Hollywood's Golden Age, Greg Jenner assembles a vibrant cast of over 125 actors, singers, dancers, sportspeople, freaks, demigods, ruffians, and more, in search of celebrity's historical roots. He reveals why celebrity burst into life in the early eighteenth century, how it differs to ancient ideas of fame, the techniques through which it was acquired, how it was maintained, the effect it had on public tastes, and the psychological burden stardom could place on those in the glaring limelight. DEAD FAMOUS is a surprising, funny, and fascinating exploration of both a bygone age and how we came to inhabit our modern, fame obsessed society.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 640 g
Dimensions: 164 x 236 x 38 mm
[An] engaging and well-researched book... Jenner brings his material to vivid life * OBSERVER *
A fascinating, rollicking book in search of why, where and how fame strikes. Sit back and enjoy the ride. * Peter Frankopan, author of The Silk Roads *
With characteristic wit and curiosity, Jenner reveals the glamour and graft of celebrity lives in this rich, entertaining and original history. * Dr Hannah Greig, historical adviser to The Favourite and Poldark *
A magical mystery tour through the history of celebrity - eye opening, provocative, triumphant. Greg Jenner is a suave and generous guide to the glittering, glamorous, often deadly world of celebrity. Dead Famous takes you deep into fabulous lives, tells all about price you pay for fame and explores why the world in which we live needs to make a few shining people into icons who thrill us, obsess us and then, finally, we want to tear apart. * Kate Williams, author and historian *
Jenner is equal parts wide-eyed historical buff and sassy polemicist. Like some frisky, over-caffeinated lovechild of Dan Snow and Marina Hyde, he can't help but entertain you, even as he's pouring facts down your throat. * GUARDIAN - Book of the Day *
This is a lively look at history's great and gawped at - and how they reshaped the world around them. * HISTORY REVEALED *
There is an enjoyably wide range of cultural references... plenty of half-forgotten quirky treasures * SPECTATOR *
Jenner is an engaging tour guide who smuggles some thought-provoking points about our culture into his zippy pen-portraits. * MAIL ON SUNDAY *
Rollicking * DAILY MAIL *
Recommended read... entertaining and resonant stories of celebs from about 1700 to 1950. * READERS' DIGEST *
Greg Jenner introduces Dead Famous
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“Dripping with wit”
This is a really fun history book, sure to please readers of all types. Greg Jenner has the charismatic quality of a really dear freind telling an incredibly entertaining story about a subject you know they're... More
“A wonderful, friendly encounter of the past and present”
Greg is a brilliant writer with outstanding intelligence, Dead Famous is beautifully written in a friendly tone that makes the educational content all the more fun and easy to follow. As a lover of history myself... More
“You don’t need to be a ‘history buff’ to live this book.”
I have followed Greg Jenner’s career since discovering him when watching Horrible Histories with my daughter (and rewatching it since). He is clearly a man of high intelligence, and also a marvellous sense of humour... More
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