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Authors Inc.

Authors Inc.: Literary Celebrity in the Modern United States, 1880-1980

Loren Glass
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 243
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Authors Inc.
    Book Description:

    Description not available.

    eISBN: 978-1-4798-9182-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xii)
  4. Introduction: Authorial Personality in the American Field of Cultural Production
    (pp. 1-28)

    Gertrude Stein rarely doubted herself or the value of her work. Though she was frustrated by her inability to get published in the 1910s and 1920s, she maintained a stubborn confidence, supported by a small coterie of friends and confidantes, that she was the most important writer of the twentieth century, a modern literary genius. When, however, after the publication of the phenomenally successfulAutobiography of Alice B. Toklasin 1933 and her triumphant tour of the United States in 1934 and 1935, she finally achieved the recognition she always knew she deserved, Stein suffered from both an identity crisis...

  5. 1 Modern Consciousness and Public Subjectivity
    (pp. 29-56)

    In 1919,The Education of Henry Adamswas posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize. Reviewed by T. S. Eliot inThe Athenæum, selected in the 1930s as one of theBooks That Changed Our Mindsby Malcolm Cowley and Bernard Smith, and heralded in the 1970s as inaugurating “the Emergence of a Modern Consciousness” by John Carlos Rowe, Adams’s unusual third-person autobiography has been appreciated ever since its publication as a signal achievement of American literary modernism.¹ Two years later, another third-person autobiography won the Pulitzer Prize, butThe Americanization of Edward Bokhas never achieved the lasting literary canonicity and...

  6. 2 Trademark Twain
    (pp. 57-82)

    As the cases of Adams and Bok indicate, the rise of consumer capitalism in the United States coincided with a notable increase in the publication of autobiographies by writers and journalists. According to Louis Kaplan’sBibliography of American Autobiographies, only twenty-six autobiographies were published by authors, journalists, or novelists between 1800 and 1880. In the forty years between 1880 and 1920, however, thirty-four authors, sixty-one journalists, and eighteen novelists each published at least one autobiography. Many published two or more.¹ Thus, in half the time, well over three times as many autobiographies of U.S. writers were published. Twain, Louisa May...

  7. 3 Legitimating London
    (pp. 83-114)

    When Jack London claimed, in an early letter to his friend Cloudesly Johns, that “to satisfy my various sides I should be possessed of at least a dozen astral selves,” he couldn’t have anticipated the peculiar manner in which his fame would ambiguously effect such a possession.¹ Almost as soon as London became well known, people started to impersonate him, and he entertained a persistent fascination with his doubles. Unlike with Twain, these impersonations tended not to be for entertainment purposes. In fact, London’s first epistolary reference to another “Jack London” comes in the form of a criminal impostor using...

  8. 4 Gertrude Stein’s Money
    (pp. 115-138)

    “Alice B. Toklas did hers and now everybody will do theirs.”¹ So opens Gertrude Stein’s second major autobiographical work,Everybody’s Autobiography(EA), published only four years after her first major autobiographical work,The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas(ABT). In these four intervening years, Stein had witnessed herself transformed from relative obscurity to international celebrity, and much of her renown she knew to be based on the enormous popularity ofABT, in which she had adopted the persona and, to a certain degree, perspective of her lover and amanuensis in order to document her central role in the social life...

  9. 5 Being Ernest
    (pp. 139-174)

    No study of authorial celebrity in the modern United States would be complete without a consideration of the career of Ernest Hemingway. To a great extent, Hemingway paradigmatically condenses the key anxieties and conflicts previously examined in the careers of Twain, London, and Stein. Like Stein, Hemingway experienced the classic career arc from European modernist little magazine cachet in the 1920s to U.S. mass cultural celebrity in the 1930s. Like Twain, he was obsessed with death, particularly in its relations to literary celebrity. Like Twain and London, he was widely impersonated. As with Twain, there is a Hemingway Foundation that...

  10. 6 The Norman Conquest
    (pp. 175-196)

    When Norman Mailer decided to organizeThe Time of Our Time, his retrospective collection, chronologically by the historical period he had been writing about, he was conveniently able to open with his retelling of the famous anecdote about Hemingway’s boxing match with Morley Callaghan in Paris. This choice not only confirms the long-standing critical truism that Mailer modeled his public persona—if not his writing style—on Hemingway but it also foregrounds the crucial differences between the two authors—differences that reveal how Mailer could surpass the older author’s celebrity without ever truly achieving his literary stature.¹

    It would be...

  11. Coda: Nothing Personal
    (pp. 197-200)

    In 1991, Don DeLillo publishedMao II, the story of Bill Gray, a famous author-recluse who, after living in seclusion for many years during which he has refused to publish anything new, decides to get his picture taken. Inspired by a photograph of J. D. Salinger that appeared on the front page of theNew York Postin 1988, and named after an Andy Warhol silkscreen series,Mao IIquickly became a seminal statement on the problems of authorial celebrity in the postmodern era. Thus, it is not surprising that DeLillo and his novel enjoy pride of place in Joe...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 201-232)
  13. Index
    (pp. 233-242)
  14. About the Author
    (pp. 243-243)