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By Tom Mole (auth.)

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Extra info for Byron’s Romantic Celebrity: Industrial Culture and the Hermeneutic of Intimacy

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Industrialisation's upheavals came slightly later to printing, when the Stanhope press was superseded by the powerful cultural technology of the steam press. Friedrich Koenig, the inventor of the cylinder press, which harnessed the power of steam to printing for the first time, came to London in 1806, where he began to develop his press for the printer Thomas Bensley. Koenig teamed up with Andreas Bauer, an engineer, and they developed the cylinder press over a number of years. In 1810 they were still working on the Stanhope screw and platen model, but by 1813 they had a cylinder machine ready to show to newspaper proprietors.

3. The branded identity In order to boost the celebrity individual's visibility over that of other aspirants, the celebrity apparatus turned his or her proper name into a brand name. 63 The words 'Edmund Kean', printed in red on the first two-colour playbills, were bound to draw an audience. 64 Theatregoers could rest assured that, whatever the play, they would witness another lightning flash of Kean's genius. When the European Magazine received a 'new volume of poetry, bearing the noble name of Byron as it's [sic] passport to celebrity' it knew that the noble name acted as a guarantor of certain marketable qualities and connotations.

The hermeneutic of intimacy, then, is an intertextual paradigm for reading celebrity texts, seeded by the texts themselves and the ways in which they were published, propagated by a wider print culture, and variously enacted by individual readers, which, although it may not be consciously articulated or adopted, is difficult to avoid. The hermeneutic of intimacy succeeded commercially because it marketed as a commodity an escape from the standardised impersonality of commodity culture. It therefore had attractions for both entrepreneurs and consumers, and answered the problem of individuation through consumption.

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