Cover image for Star authors : literary celebrity in America
Star authors : literary celebrity in America
Moran, Joe, 1970-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; Sterling, Va. : Pluto Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
187 pages ; 22 cm
General Note:
Based on the author's thesis (doctoral)--University of Sussex.

Format :

On Order



In America, authors are as likely to be seen on television talk shows or magazine covers as in the more traditional settings of literary festivals or book signings. Is this literary celebrity just another result of 'dumbing down'? Yet another example of the mass media turning everything into entertainment? Or is it a much more unstable, complex phenomenon? And what does the American experience tell us about the future of British literary celebrity?In Star Authors, Joe Moran shows how publishers, the media and authors themselves create and disseminate literary celebrity. He looks at such famous contemporary authors as Toni Morrison, J.D. Salinger, Thomas Pynchon, Don DeLillo, John Updike, Philip Roth, Kathy Acker, Nicholson Baker, Paul Auster and Jay McInerney. Through an examination of their own work, biographical information, media representations and promotional material, Moran illustrates the nature of modern literary celebrity. He argues that authors actively negotiate their own celebrity rather than simply having it imposed upon them - from reclusive authors such as Salinger and Pynchon, famed for their very lack of public engagement, to media-friendly authors such as Updike and McInerney.Star Authors analyses literary celebrity in the context of the historical links between literature, advertising and publicity in America; the economics of literary production; and the cultural capital involved in the marketing and consumption of books and authors.

Author Notes

Joe Moran is Lecturer in English and American Studies at Liverpool John Moores University.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Moran (English and American studies, Liverpool John Moores Univ., England) has written an interesting account of the nature of author celebrity. Exploring literary fame in the United States since the turn of the 19th century, he charts how authors have learned to use the media in its various and changing forms in order to create personae that sell books. Moran argues that these writers are not simply reacting to the culture around them but are consciously manipulating it. He concentrates on John Updike, Philip Roth, Don DeLillo, and Kathy Acker and furnishes much detail to back his thesis, drawing from the authors! fiction and nonfiction works, their promotional materials, and their appearances, or lack thereof, in the media. The author also raises questions of class and literature (e.g., where and how this self-promotion takes place and whether the author is seen as literary or not). This thought-provoking and timely book is highly recommended for academic libraries."Kelley Gove, Kennebunk Free Lib., ME (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: The Charismatic Illusion
Part 1 Cultural Contexts
2 Mark Twain Absurdity: Literature and Publicity in America
3 The Reign of Hype: The Contemporary Star System
4 Disembodied Images: Authors, Authorship and Celebrity
Part 2 Star Authors
5 The Scribe of Suburbia: John Updike
6 Reality Shift: Philip Roth
7 Silence, Exile, Cunning and So On: Don DeLillo
8 A Star of Bohemia: Kathy Acker
9 Conclusion: A 'Meet the Author' Culture