The Celebrity System of Revivalist Dublin
The memoirs of J. M. Synge’s friends and contemporaries (Mary Colum, W. B. Yeats, Beatrice Lady Glenavy, William Orpen, George Moore, and others) show how proximity to the great and famous functioned as part of an implicit celebrity system in the Dublin of the Irish Revival: value spread from the chief to the minor celebrities, and to everyone who met them once or stalked them through the city. Mary Colum stalked Yeats and saved his cigarette butt, and Seamus O’Sullivan entered a store George Moore had just left, seeking to buy the same brand of tobacco. Contemporary celebrity theory does not fit the Irish Revival, whose stars were not inaccessibly remote but intimates who walked the same streets. Celebrities one bumps into are less godlike, and in the Dublin of the Irish Revival, reverence coexisted with irreverence.
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