The Metaphor of Celebrity: Canadian Poetry and the Public, 1955-1980

By Joel Deshaye

© 2013

The Metaphor of Celebrity is an exploration of the significance of literary celebrity in Canadian poetry. It focuses on the lives and writing of four widely recognized authors who wrote about stardom – Leonard Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, Irving Layton, and Gwendolyn MacEwen – and the specific moments in Canadian history that affected the ways in which they were received by the broader public.

Joel Deshaye elucidates the relationship between literary celebrity and metaphor in the identity crises of celebrities, who must try to balance their public and private selves in the face of considerable publicity. He also examines the ways in which celebrity in Canadian poetry developed in a unique way in light of the significant cultural events of the decades between 1950 and 1980, including the Massey Commission, the flourishing of Canadian publishing, and the considerable interest in poetry in the 1960s and 1970s, which was followed by a rapid fall from public grace, as poetry was overwhelmed by greater popular interest in Canadian novels.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
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SKU# SP003611

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2013

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    Regular Price: $56.00

    ISBN 9781442646612
  • PUBLISHED OCT 2013

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    Regular Price: $56.00

Quick Overview

The Metaphor of Celebrity is an exploration of the significance of literary celebrity in Canadian poetry.

The Metaphor of Celebrity: Canadian Poetry and the Public, 1955-1980

By Joel Deshaye

© 2013

The Metaphor of Celebrity is an exploration of the significance of literary celebrity in Canadian poetry. It focuses on the lives and writing of four widely recognized authors who wrote about stardom – Leonard Cohen, Michael Ondaatje, Irving Layton, and Gwendolyn MacEwen – and the specific moments in Canadian history that affected the ways in which they were received by the broader public.

Joel Deshaye elucidates the relationship between literary celebrity and metaphor in the identity crises of celebrities, who must try to balance their public and private selves in the face of considerable publicity. He also examines the ways in which celebrity in Canadian poetry developed in a unique way in light of the significant cultural events of the decades between 1950 and 1980, including the Massey Commission, the flourishing of Canadian publishing, and the considerable interest in poetry in the 1960s and 1970s, which was followed by a rapid fall from public grace, as poetry was overwhelmed by greater popular interest in Canadian novels.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.0in x 9.3in
  • Reviews

    ‘The Metaphor of Celebrity is an engrossing read because of the balance that the text strikes…That I am left for wanting more of the text is, from my point of view, an excellent challenge to the writer.’


    Kit Dobson
    English Studies in Canada, vol 40:2-3: 2015

    ‘A book that can and will act as a critical touchstone as celebrity continues to evolve and involve itself in the “literariness” and visibility texts.’


    Owen Percy
    Canadian Literature 223 / winter 2014

    “I highly recommend The Metaphor of Celebrity, a fascinating, well-researched, thoughtful, and historically significant book on a vital period of Canadian poetry. This study is a major contribution to research, advancing an important and timely dialogue that will have implications for further study of modernist poetry and Canadian poetry in general.  It is also immensely readable, and I am eager to talk about it among my colleagues.”


    Priscila Uppal, Department of English, York University

    The Metaphor of Celebrity is an invaluable source for contextualizing and assessing the work of four major Canadian writers. Joel Deshaye makes evident the elevating and enervating qualities of celebrity, and with his attention to their crucial shaping of the presentation and reception of Canadian literature between the mid-1950s and early 1980s, he creates a vital historical lens through which we can view contemporary Canadian concerns with cultural identity.”


    J.A. Wainwright, Department of English, Dalhousie University
  • Author Information

    Joel Deshaye is an academic projects manager at McGill University.
  • Table of contents

    Introduction

    1. The Metaphor of Celebrity

    2. The Era of Celebrity in Canadian Poetry

    3. Becoming “Too Public” in the Poetry of Irving Layton

    4. Fighting Words: Layton on Radio and Television

    5. Recognition, Anonymity, and Leonard Cohen’s Stranger Music

    6. “I like that line because it’s got my name in it”: Masochistic Stardom in Cohen’s Poetry

    7. Celebrity, Sexuality, and the Uncanny in Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid

    8. “A Razor in the Body”: Ondaatje’s Rat Jelly and Secular Love

    9. The Magician and His Public in the Poetry of Gwendolyn MacEwen

    10. Passing and Celebrity in MacEwen’s The T.E. Lawrence Poems

    Conclusion: Public, Nation, Now

    Acknowledgments

    Appendix: Four Tables (fig. 1-4)

    Works Cited

    Notes

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