Stars as sculpture in the 1920s fan-magazine interview
Harrow, Susan (eds.)
The Art of the Text: Visuality in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Literary and Other Media.
University of Wales Press
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This paper draws from archival research into British and American film fan-magazines of the late 1910s and 1920s, a period that saw the consolidation of the star system and the refinement of a discourse through which stars could be constructed. I argue that in seeking to establish an appropriate visual and written discourse for the nascent art of stardom, studios and journalists looked to the aesthetics of fine art, and particularly classicism, for inspiration. For the printed page, it was thus necessary to appropriate a language of description that could suitably elevate, and animate, the screen idol for its audience, and to present a sense of the vivid, fully-realised and effectively three-dimensional in the face of stardom’s fragments and absences. Drawing from interdisciplinary work on ekphrasis, the art of making the silent image speak, as well as of the iconotext, the image within a text, I shall argue that star studies can learn much from placing the discourse of stardom within wider art-historical tradition.
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