The British Aristocracy in Popular Culture: Essays on 200 Years of Representations
Edited by Stefania Michelucci, Ian Duncan and Luisa Villa
As traditional social hierarchies fall away, ever steeper levels of economic inequality and the entrenchment of new class distinctions lend a new glamor to the idea of aristocracy: witness the worldwide popularity of Downton Abbey, or the seemingly insatiable public fascination with the private lives of the British royal family. This collection of new essays investigates the enduring attraction to the icon of the aristocrat and the spectacle of aristocratic society. It traces the ambivalent reactions the aristocracy provokes and the needs (political, ideological, psychological, and otherwise) it caters to in modern times when the economic power of the landed classes have been eroded and their political role curtailed. In this interdisciplinary collection, aristocracy is considered from multiple viewpoints, including British and American literature, European history and politics, cultural studies, linguistics, visual arts, music, and media studies.