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Famously literary?: the Nobel Prize and Herta Müller's authorial body

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter (peer-reviewed)

Published

Publication date2013
Host publicationHerta Müller
EditorsBrigid Haines, Lyn Marven
Place of publicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages224-241
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9780199654642
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This chapter uses Herta Müller’s Nobel Prize win to explore issues of authorship and celebrity. Focusing on how Müller has been perceived as both an intensely private individual and a broadly representative figure, it considers how the author’s physical body relates to her literary corpus: the author’s ‘two bodies’. I adapt celebrity theory and the work of Pierre Bourdieu to show how a literary author who is subject to sudden and sustained media attention (‘celebrification’) repeatedly finds one body substituted for the other in the multiple value systems into which she is inserted. Teasing out how this happens in the months from September to December 2009, I invite the reader to reflect on wider processes of consumption surrounding literature and individual intellectual achievement. My aims are twofold: to encourage further sustained analysis of Müller’s literary authorship within a complex media context, and to consider how the strategies she has developed in response to various public constructions of her authorial person may modify current understandings of literary celebrity.

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