Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pg. 99: Stephen Gundle's "Glamour: A History"

The current feature at the Page 99 Test: Stephen Gundle's Glamour: A History.

About the book, from the publisher:
Glamor is one of the most tantalizing and bewitching aspects of contemporary culture--but also one of the most elusive. The aura of celebrity, the style of the fashion world, the vanity of the rich and beautiful, and the publicity-driven rites of café society are all imbued with irresistible magnetism. But what exactly is glamor? Where does it come from? How old is it? And can anyone quite capture its magic?

Stephen Gundle answers all these questions and more in this first ever history of glamor. From Paris in the tumultuous final decades of the eighteenth century through to Hollywood, New York, and Monte Carlo in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, from the glamorous fictional characters of Walter Scott to iconic figures such as Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn Monroe to modern idols such as Paris Hilton, this marvelous book maps the origins of glamor and investigates the forms that it takes in modern times. Gundle entertainingly discusses the role of writers, journalists, artists, photographers, film-makers and fashion designers, occupations like the model and the air stewardess, cities and resorts such as Paris, New York and Monte Carlo, and products including luxury cars and jets--all of which have been associated in the public mind with the magical aura of glamor. And he shows how glamor feeds on the middle class yearning for a thrilling and colorful life, a yearning reinforced by the cinema and the press, which serve as a stage for acting out scenes of a desirable life, while also creating trends, promoting fashions, and furnishing celebrities.

Here then is all the excitement and sex appeal of glamor, a fabulous tour of the beautiful, the rich, the sleazy, the false, and the tragic.
Learn more about Glamour: A History at the Oxford University Press website.

Stephen Gundle is Professor of Film and Television Studies at the University of Warwick. His books include Between Hollywood and Moscow: The Italian Communists and the Challenge of Mass Culture, 1943-91 and Bellissima: Feminine Beauty and the Idea of Italy.

The Page 99 Test: Glamour: A History.

--Marshal Zeringue