Brushes with Fame: Thackeray and the Work of Celebrity

Dames, Nicholas J.

What is increasingly at stake in the depiction of the famous in Thackeray's fiction is the gradual formation of a new category of public experience called the "celebrity," unmoored from the political or aristocratic underpinnings of older forms of public notoriety and increasingly unlike earlier conceptualizations of fame. In the celebrity, mid-Victorian culture found a social and perceptual category that could not only become more conceptually promiscuous--subsuming martial, literary, artistic, financial, governmental, and criminal fame into one form--but that could also root itself more deeply into the heretofore private consciousnesses of the public and, therefore, could reorient consciousness (particularly memory) toward a newly configured public realm.


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Nineteenth-Century Literature

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Academic Units
English and Comparative Literature
Published Here
August 7, 2013


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