The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption by Daniel HerwitzThe Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption by Daniel Herwitz

The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption

byDaniel Herwitz

Paperback | May 3, 2016

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Princess Diana, Jackie O, Grace Kelly-the star icon is the most talked about yet least understood persona. The object of adoration, fantasy, and cult obsession, the star icon is a celebrity, yet she is also something more: a dazzling figure at the center of a media pantomime that is at once voyeuristic and zealously guarded. With skill and humor, Daniel Herwitz pokes at the gears of the celebrity-making machine, recruiting a philosopher's interest in the media, an eye for society, and a love of popular culture to divine our yearning for these iconic figures and the role they play in our lives.

Herwitz portrays the star icon as caught between transcendence and trauma. An effervescent being living on a distant, exalted planet, the star icon is also a melodramatic heroine desperate to escape her life and the ever-watchful eye of the media. The public buoys her up and then eagerly watches her fall, her collapse providing a satisfying conclusion to a story sensationally told-while leaving the public yearning for a rebirth.

Herwitz locates this double life in the opposing tensions of film, television, religion, and consumer culture, offering fresh perspectives on these subjects while ingeniously mapping society's creation (and destruction) of these special aesthetic stars. Herwitz has a soft spot for popular culture yet remains deeply skeptical of public illusion. He worries that the media distances us from even minimal insight into those who are transfigured into star icons. It also blinds us to the shaping of our political present.

Daniel Herwitz is the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of Humanities at the University of Michigan. His Columbia University Press books include Heritage, Culture, and Politics in the Postcolony (2012) and, with Lydia Goehr, The Don Giovanni Moment: Essays on the Legacy of an Opera (2006).
Title:The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass ConsumptionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:176 pagesPublished:May 3, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231145411

ISBN - 13:9780231145411

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments1. The Candle in the Wind2. There Is Only One Star Icon (Except in a Warhol Picture)3. Therefore Not All Idols Are American4. A Star Is Born5. The Film Aura: An Intermediate Case6. Stargazing and Spying7. Teleaesthetics8. Diana Haunted and Hunted on TV9. Star Aura in Consumer Society (and Other Fatalities)NotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

An eloquent essay that contributes to the contemporary discourse on celebrity and stardom.