This study examines literary celebrity in Britain from 1850 to 1914 with chapters focused on a variety of Victorian authors, including Charles Dickens, Harriet Martineau, and Octavia Hill. Through lively analysis of rare cultural materials, Easley demonstrates the crucial role of the celebrity author in the formation of British national identity. As Victorians toured the homes and haunts of famous writers, they developed a sense of shared national heritage. At the same time, by reading sensational accounts of writers' lives, they were able to reconsider conventional gender roles and domestic arrangements. Women writers capitalized on celebrity media as a way of furthering their own careers and retelling British history on their own terms. Easley demonstrates how the trope of the literary celebrity was utilized for other purposes as well, including the professionalization of medicine, the development of the open space movement, and the formation of the literary canon.
Alexis Easley is associate professor of English at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.
1 Acknowledgments 2 Introduction Part 3 Part I: Celebrity and Literary Tourism Chapter 4 1. The Virtual City: Literary Tourism and the Construction of "Dickens's London" Chapter 5 2. The Haunting of Victorian London: Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and George Eliot Chapter 6 3. The Women of Letters at Home: Harriet Martineau and the Lake District Part 7 Part II: Celebrity and Historiography Chapter 8 4. Harriet Martineau: Gender, National Identity, and the Contemporary Historian Chapter 9 5. Rooms of the Past: Victorian Women Writers, History, and the Reconstruction of Domestic Space Part 10 Part III: Celebrity and Fin de Siecle Print Culture Chapter 11 6. Women Writers and Celebrity News at the Fin de Siecle Chapter 12 7. Representations of the Authorial Body in the British Medical Journal Chapter 13 8. The Celebrity Cause: Octavia Hill, Virtual Landscapes, and the Press 14 Coda: Literary Celebrity, Gender, and Canon Formation 15 Notes 16 Bibliography 17 Index