The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History

Leo Braudy,

Oxford University Press, 1986

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

For Alexander the Great, fame meant accomplishing what no mortal had ever accomplished before. For Julius Caesar, personal glory was indistinguishable from that of Rome. The early Christians devalued public recognition, believing that the only true audience was God. And Marilyn Monroe owed much of her fame to the fragility that led to self-destruction. These are only some of the dozens of figures that populate Leo Braudy's panoramic history of fame, a book that tells us as much about vast cultural changes as it does about the men and women who at different times captured their societies' regard.  

Spanning thousands of years and fields ranging from politics to literature and mass media, The Frenzy of Renown explores the unfolding relationship between the famous and their audiences, between fame and the representations that make it possible. Hailed as a landmark at its original publication and now reissued with a new Afterword covering the last tumultuous decade, here is a major work that provides our celebrity-obsessed, post-historical society with a usable past. 


"Remarkably ambitious . . . an impressive tour de force." 
Washington Post Book World

"Expansive . . . Braudy excels at rocketing a general point into the air with the fuel of drama. "