Madly famous: Narratives of mental iIIness in celebrity culture

Stephen Harper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In a recent article on contemporary celebrity culture, Jeremy Gilbert describes the psychological appeal of celebrities in terms of Lacanian misrecognition:

Just as the infant sees in her reflection an image of autonomous and self-contained integrity, so different from the state of confusion which she experiences as herself, so the fan sees in the star an image of perfect autonomy, public agency, smooth-edged self-completion. Lacan famously describes this phantasmatic relationship of subject to reflection as a misrecognition. Celebrities in the public domain, according to such a view, function as fantasy objects, images of impossible perfection which hold out the lure of a fully-achieved selfhood to subjects constituted by their perpetual search for just such impossible/absent 'fullness' (Gilbert, 2004: 91).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFraming Celebrity
Subtitle of host publicationNew Directions in Celebrity Culture
EditorsSu Holmes, Sean Redmond
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780203715406
ISBN (Print)9780415377096 (hbk), 9780445377102 (pbk
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006


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