Centre for Studies in Literature
Conference 2014: Celebrity Encounters
TRANSATLANTIC FAME IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY BRITAIN AND AMERICA
An international conference hosted by the Centre for Studies in Literature, University of Portsmouth
4-5 July 2014
- David Haven Blake (The College of New Jersey)
- Tom Mole (University of Edinburgh)
- Richard Salmon (University of Leeds)
Building on recent scholarship that has demonstrated that the discourses, practices and conditions associated with twentieth- and twenty-first-century celebrity culture were already in place in America and Europe by the end of the eighteenth century, this conference explored the transatlantic dimensions of nineteenth-century constructions of fame and fandom. It considered the ways transatlantic celebrity affected relationships between, and the identities of, celebrities and fans, and facilitated a questioning of geographically located notions of identity, race, gender and class. In the context of new forms of communication, transport and media that irrevocably altered celebrity cultural exchanges across the Atlantic, this conference focused on the nature of celebrity encounters and the complexities of relationships between famous Americans and their British fans; British lions and their American devotees; and British and American celebrities.
Themes of the conference included:
- Anglo-American celebrity encounters in nineteenth-century British and/or American literature or culture
- Transatlantic fandom as a subject in nineteenth-century British and/or American literature or culture
- American celebrities/fans in nineteenth-century Britain
- British celebrities/fans in nineteenth-century America
- The transatlantic reception of British and/or American writers and artists
- Gender, race, nationality and class in transatlantic celebrity exchanges
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Illustration by A. A. Dixon courtesy of American Notes by Charles Dickens (Publisher: Collins' Clear-Type Press, London and Glasgow, reprint 1906)
Illustration of the library at Lamb House, Mr. James's English home, reproduced from Brook Sidney’s ‘Mr Henry James at Home’, Harpers Weekly, 48 (8 October 1904).