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Glamour: A History


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1: Walter Scott and the origins of glamour 2: 1. Building the shopping city in London and Paris 3: The birth of sex appeal 4: Wealth and style in the gilded age 5: Cafe society and the publicity phenomenon 6: The Hollywood star system 7: The Riviera touch 8: Glamour for the masses 9: Photography and the public image 10: Style, pastiche, and excess 11: Harlots and heiresses Conclusion

About the Author

Stephen Gundle is Professor of Film and Television Studies at Warwick University, having previously taught at Royal Holloway, University of London and both Oxford and Cambridge universities. He has written widely about Italian and European culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his work focusing especially on the mass media, the cultural aspects of politics and fashion, and the impact of American modernity on European popular culture.


Herwitz (humanities, Univ. of Michigan; Aesthetics: Key Concepts in Philosophy) examines some complex explanations for the role of celebrity in popular culture. Referring to numerous examples of celebrity icons (e.g., Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly), he pays particular attention to Princess Diana, who embodied many of the divergent facets of an icon in modern society--eliciting high public admiration yet prompting a media obsession with her personal problems and tragedies. Herwitz skillfully analyzes the tightly interwoven components of this pattern, citing relationships to television, film, and escalating consumerism--all playing a role in the building up and tearing down of icons, a process that loses sight of the celebrity as an individual. Herwitz approaches the subject with intelligence and fine scholarship and offers much to think about. Yet another tantalizing element of the celebrity mystique is glamour--a maddeningly indefinable quality sought by many but seemingly attainable by only a few. Gundle (film & television studies, Warwick Univ.; Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy) takes an expansive look at glamour from past to present in a narrative rich with captivating details and commentary. He examines the many categories in which glamour is measured--wealth, sex appeal, beauty, spectacle, daring, urban sophistication, professions, and products. He discusses its arbiters--photographers, major magazines, writers--and some of its diverse symbols through time such as Marie Antoinette, Marlene Dietrich, Gianni Versace, and Princess Diana, setting their historical context and discussing their eccentricities, excesses, and style-setting trends. Gundle sums up glamour as a look, action, or way of life more fascinating and colorful than that of its audience. Both of these books are essential for those with a keen interest in the sociology of popular culture and stardom.--Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

`Review from previous edition Glamour has enough juicy celebrity anecdotes to keep you gripped during your week's sunbathing in Sardinia this summer.' The Scotsman. `Well researched and thoughtfully written, this book manages to be an excellent read and will appeal to anyone interested in popular culture.' Book Quarterly `This book is essential reading for anyone interested in or working within popular culture, cinema and fashion, and recommended for anyone seeking a scholarly yet readable account of this potent phenomenon.' THES. `Gundle is brilliant at the old razzle-dazzle.' Saturday Guardian. Veronica Horwell. `This book is a thoroughly comprehensive and meticulously researched history of glamour.' THES.

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