In 1788, the Catalogue of Five Hundred Celebrated Authors of Great Britain, Now Living forecast a form of authorship that rested on biographical revelation and media saturation as well as literary achievement. This collection traces the unique experiences of women writers within a celebrity culture that was intimately connected to the expansion of print technology and of visual and material culture in the nineteenth century. The contributors examine a wide range of artifacts, including prefaces, portraits, frontispieces, birthday books, calendars and gossip columns, to consider the nature of women's celebrity and the forces that created it. How did authors like Jane Austen, the Countess of Blessington, Louisa May Alcott, Alice Meynell, and Marie Corelli negotiate the increasing demands for public revelation of the private self? How did gender shape the posthumous participation of women writers such as Jane Austen, Ellen Wood, Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Christina Rossetti in celebrity culture? These and other important questions related to the treatment of women in celebrity genres and media, and the strategies women writers used to control their public images, are taken up in this suggestive exploration of how nineteenth and early twentieth century women writers achieved popular, critical, and commercial success.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface; Introduction: women writers and the artifacts of celebrity, Maura Ives; Celebrity and anonymity in the Monthly Review's notices of 19th-century novels, Stephanie Eckroth; 'Faultless herself, as nearly as human nature can be': the construction of Jane Austen's public image, 1817-1917, Katie Halsey; The portrait, the beauty, and the book: celebrity and the Countess of Blessington, Ann R. Hawkins; 'A place among its more successful sisters': Louisa May Alcott's wayward Moods, Catherine S. Blackwell; 'The summit of an author's fame': Victorian women writers and the Birthday Book, Maura Ives; 'Almost idolatrous love': Caroline Dall, Sarah Knowles Bolton, Mary C. Crawford and the case of Elizabeth Whitman, Jennifer Harris; Women writers and celebrity news at the fin de siècle, Alexis Easley; 'A characteristic product of the present era': gender and celebrity in Helen C. Black's Notable Women Authors of the Day (1893), Troy J. Bassett; Presenting Alice Meynell: the book, the photograph, and the calendar, Linda H. Peterson; Motherhood, authorship, and rivalry: sons' memoirs of the lives of Ellen Price Wood and Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Jennifer Phegley; Commodifying the self: portraits of the artist in the novels of Marie Corelli, Lizzie White; Pauline Johnson and celebrity in Canada: 'the most unique fixture in the literary world of today', Carole Gerson; Works cited; Index.
Ann R. Hawkins is Professor of Bibliography in the Department of English at Texas Tech University, and Maura Ives is Associate Professor of English at Texas A&M University, USA.
"This immensely interesting and informative volume elegantly maps the ways in which women writers participated in celebrity culture through printed and visual artifacts. In offering probing analyses of the sometimes vexed relationship between celebrity status and critical success for writers whose gender and popularity could occlude recognition of their aesthetic brilliance, this collection makes an essential contribution to our understanding of the literary history of women writers." --Harriet Kramer Linkin, New Mexico State University, USA
"These essays show the close connections between the artifacts of celebrity and the discourses of celebrity, and the ways in which the two can meld together in a printed codex... The conjunction of gender, celebrity and material culture make this book essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the cultural history of literary celebrity in the nineteenth century." --Review 19
"Women Writers and the Artifacts of Celebrity in the Long Nineteenth Century paints a dazzling kaleidoscope of the manner in which artifacts were used to reveal more details about the nature of celebrity culture and how various objects were utilised as a means to celebrate or marginalise women’s artistic achievements." --The Latchkey
"This stimulating essay collection is another addition to burgeoning studies of literary celebrity: its value derives from its ability to bring together the discourses of gender and women’s writing with the current critical interest in material culture. The greatest strength of this collection is its focus on what the title labels ’artifacts of celebrity’, which are invariably printed and in visual forms." --Literature and History