Considerable attention in our own time is devoted to the cult of celebrity: to celebrating people who attain great fame and the cultural events and paraphernalia that surround them. While even sophisticated observers are tempted to regard celebrity as a phenomenon distinctly related to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, it is by no means a recent invention. The nineteenth, eighteenth, and even seventeenth century also expended enormous energies in scrutinising and analysing the "celebrated" persons or events of their times. Indeed, the publicity apparatus that we associate with celebrity today can be seen as a natural outgrowth of the first experiments with mass media in the "early modern" and "modern" eras. This volume explores the genesis of and the variations on "celebrity" during the long eighteenth century, both in English-speaking cultures and in the broader western sphere of cultural influence.
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