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Presentations on “Star Texts” and “Celebrity”

On May 22nd, 2019, Charlotte Lindemann, Mark Algee-Hewitt, and Laura McGrath presented on two related projects, Star Texts and Celebrity.

Star Texts: A “star text,” or “star image,” as Richard Dyer’s seminal Stars (1979) defines it, is a composite media text, assembled from the various appearances, visual, verbal, and aural, of a celebrity on screen or in the press. Treating celebrity performances as sites of intertextuality, a “star text” is a metanarrative, linking each film in which a given star features. How do star texts accumulate meaning? Where are they made, and how do they circulate? Charlotte Lindemann and Mark Algee-Hewitt analyze the relationship between star texts, film reviews, and advertisements in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.

Celebrity: Still in its early stages, Celebrity is a long-term collaboration between the Literary Lab and the Smithsonian Institute of American History. Drawing on the largest Lit Lab corpus to date, a collection of US newspapers (18th Century - present), Celebrity will map a comprehensive history of fame— its uses, abuses, and currency— in American culture. Laura McGrath will present preliminary research and outline directions for this new collaboration, in the hopes of soliciting feedback from lab members.