New Book Project by Prof. Sharon Marcus Earns a Trio of Fellowships

Friday, September 29, 2017

Prof. Sharon Marcus has been awarded Radcliffe, Guggenheim, and Ransom Center fellowships for a book about the history of celebrity culture, The Drama of Celebrity, under contract with Princeton University Press.  "Though social media have done much to expand celebrity culture," Marcus argues, "the template for modern celebrity culture took shape in the 19th century, with the rise of global news media and global performance culture.  The key question I’m trying to answer, though, is why we are so fascinated by celebrities — a fascination that encompasses repulsion as well as attraction."
The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study is a residential center that brings together scientists, social scientists, humanists, and artists to focus on research and writing and to exchange work.  "Celebrity is a topic about which almost everyone has an opinion, and as I enter the final stages of writing," Marcus explains, "so it will be incredibly useful to get a range of perspectives on my ideas."
The Ransom Center is a peerless archive for anyone studying  literature and the performing arts. Marcus hopes to get a head start there on her next project, which she explains is "about the longstanding rivalry between actors and playwrights, which playwrights only started to win about a century ago, when celebrity dramatists such as Eugene O’Neil and George Bernard Shaw became the subjects of glamorous photographs and celebrity profiles."
Lastly, "the Guggenheim will help ready my book for publication and, more importantly, will remind me as I slog through the home stretch that there are people out there who believe this project matters and want to see it in the world," Marcus says.
Sharon Marcus's essay "Celebrity, Past and Present," can be found here at Public Culture.