With its sharp focus on stardom during the 1920s, Idols of Modernity reveals strong connections and dissonances in matters of storytelling and performance that can be traced both backward and forward, across Europe, Asia, and the United States, from the silent era into the emergence of sound.
Bringing together the best new work oncinemaand stardom in the 1920s, this illustrated collection showcases the range of complex social, institutional, and aesthetic issues at work in American cinema of this time. Attentive to stardom as an ensemble of texts, contexts, and social phenomena stretching beyond the cinema, major scholars provide careful analysis of the careers of both well-known and now forgotten stars of the silent and early sound era—Douglas Fairbanks, Buster Keaton, the Talmadge sisters, Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, Clara Bow, Colleen Moore, Greta Garbo, Anna May Wong, Emil Jannings, Al Jolson, Ernest Morrison, Noble Johnson, Evelyn Preer, Lincoln Perry, and Marie Dressler.
"Incisive, elegantly crafted essays chronicling the major figures in the first years of the star system. Idols of Modernity is a rigorous, insightful, and refreshing look at the stars of the 1920s, the world in which they lived, the directors, producers and studios who shaped their public image, and the audiences who flocked to see their films."
— Screening the Past
PATRICE PETRO is a professor of English and film studies and vice provost for international education at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, she is the author and editor of numerous books on film, culture, and internationalization, among them Global Cities: Cinema, Architecture, and Urbanism in a Digital Age (Rutgers University Press).