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Title: Byron's romantic celebrity : industrial culture and the hermeneutic of intimacy
Author: Mole, Thomas Seymour
ISNI:       0000 0000 7102 1432
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis argues that modern celebrity culture took shape in the Romantic period, and that Byron should be understood as one of its earliest examples and most astute critics. It investigates the often strained interactions of artistic endeavour and commercial enterprise, the material conditions of Byron's publications, and the place of celebrity culture in the history of the self. It understands celebrity as a cultural apparatus structured by the relations between an individual, an industry and an audience, which emerged at a distinct historical moment. In the Romantic period, it contends, industrialised print culture overcrowded the public sphere with named individuals and alienated cultural producers and consumers. Celebrity tackled the surfeit of public personality by branding an individual's identity to make it amenable to commercial promotion, and palliated the sense of alienation by constructing a hermeneutic of intimacy. The thesis investigates Byron's engagement with industrial culture, showing how it empowered and embarrassed him. It considers how changes in his sense of audience while writing Childe Harold's Pilgrimage led Byron to construct the hermeneutic of intimacy in 'To lanthe'. Byron's celebrity included an important visual dimension, which he fostered in his Turkish Tales. The thesis therefore studies the circulation of his image, in authorised and appropriated versions, and the resulting advantages and anxieties for Byron. It argues that when he tried to move his poetry in a new direction with Hebrew Melodies, his attempt was compromised by generic constraints and publishing practices. The legal wrangles of 1816, it contends, made the hermeneutic of intimacy unsustainable. When he returned to Childe Harold, Byron experimented with alternative models of writing and reading. The thesis concludes by considering Don Juan, examining Byron's reading of Montaigne and arguing that the importance of celebrity culture in normalising the modern understanding of subjectivity has been underestimated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Lord Byron