Sentiment and Celebrity: Nathaniel Parker Willis and the Trials of Literary Fame

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Sentiment and Celebrity tells the story of a man the New York Times once called the most talked-about author in America. A widely admired, if controversial, master of the sentimental appeal, poet and magazinist Nathaniel Parker Willis (1806-1867) was a pioneer in the modern business of celebrity. By charting the shape and thrust of the various controversies that surrounded Willis, this book shows how the cultural and commercial impulses that fostered the development of antebellum America's love affair with fame and fashion drew power and sustenance from the concurrent allure of genteel cultivation and sentiment.