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August 8   -   ArtsJournal: music

Nothing New: Celebrity Culture Has Always Been With Us

"Antoine Lilti’s The Invention of Celebrity is a book that does just that. A chronicle of the origins and development of our modern société du spectacle, it provides a genealogy of the media-driven world of celebrities and personalities who now dominate our headlines and crowd (out) our public debates. Far from being the product solely of 20th-century developments or the perversion of a less starstruck age, argues Lilti, the culture of celebrity has in fact been with us since the 18th century. ‘Celebrity’, Lilti writes, is ‘a characteristic trait of modern societies’. It was present at their birth."

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