Fame in the 20th Century
Baker & Taylor
As an accompaniment to an upcoming PBS television series, this volume examines the nature of fame in the twentieth century, commenting on the notoriety of such figures as Madonna, Charles Lindbergh, and Walt Disney. TV tie-in. 40,000 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer
Historically "the famous were remembered and everybody else was forgotten," Clive James remarks in this witty and illuminating companion to his eight-part TV series. "That was what fame was. But in the twentieth century, fame turned into something different. Suddenly there was more of it. A special word was brought in for the extra light that the famous were thought to give off: charisma. The celebrity was yet another pioneering contribution to twentieth-century fame. Celebrities weren't just famous for what they did. They were famous for the lives they led while they did it." Fame has taken on a life of its own, and James examines the phenomenon in his inimitable style - irreverent, learned, and entertaining. From Madame Curie to Madonna, the famous are discussed in the context of the history of the century. James begins with Commander Scott, who was the second person to get to the South Pole and is much more famous than the man who got there first. Then there is Liberace, who "offered class to people with no taste," and Einstein, whom the press made famous "by spreading the vague notion that Einstein said everything was relative, so anything went." Fame brings with it, almost always, power, and sometimes, as James points out, its own special threat. "It has taken a whole century of fame to find out that its radiance burns. Fame has to be handled with care. It needs special suits and lead shields so that people can step into all that light and still breathe."
Examines the nature of fame in the twentieth century, commenting on the notoriety of such figures as Madonna, Charles Lindbergh, and Walt Disney
New York : Random House, 1993
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