Modernism and the Culture of Celebrity
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In this 2005 book, Aaron Jaffe investigates the relationship between two phenomena that arrived on the historical stage in the first decades of the twentieth century: modernist literature and celebrity culture. Jaffe systematically traces and theorises the deeper dependencies between these two influential forms of cultural value. He examines the paradox that modernist authors, while rejecting mass culture in favour of elite cultural forms, reflected the economy of celebrity culture in their strategies for creating a market for their work. Through collaboration, networking, reviewing and editing each other's works, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Wyndham Lewis, among others, constructed their literary reputations and publicised the project of modernism. Jaffe uses substantial archival research to show how literary fame was made by exploiting the very market forces that modernists claimed to reject. This innovative study also illuminates the cultural impact and continued relevance of the modernist project.