Book review Edward Berenson and Eva Giloi, Constructing Charisma: Celebrity, Fame, and Power in Nineteenth-Century Europe. New York: Berghahn Books, 2010. 232pp. ISBN 971845456948. price £40 (hbk) SAGE Publications, Inc. 201110.1177/1367549411405744 © The Author(s) The Author(s) MartinWillis University of Glamorgan In the concluding essay in this distinctive collection, Leo Braudy (himself a figure of some celebrity in the field of celebrity culture) argues that ‘while looking back on the 19th-century roots of fame, celebrity and charisma … we are also unavoidably thinking about what is happening right in front of us’ (p. 165). Historians would probably reverse the direction of this statement, claiming that an understanding of the past is a prerequisite to knowing anything of the present. However, they would be entirely sympathetic with Braudy’s sentiment, and indeed with the aim of Constructing Charisma to deepen our historical knowledge and understanding of fame and celebrity. The collection, introduced ably by the editors, collects together 10 varied but comple- mentary essays in three sections and concludes with Braudy’s thoughtful reflections on the first century of mass culture. Berenson and Giloi’s helpful introduction argues that the rise of fame, charisma and celebrity was a 19th-century phenomenon tied very closely
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