The quest for fame

  • David Giles


What is it about fame that has made it so attractive to people throughout history? What drove Alexander the Great, Cicero, P. T. Barnum and Ronnie Kray to emulate their idols, establish their names in the history books and gain the worldly recognition of the present time? In this chapter I consider a variety of factors that might contribute to the individual desire to be famous. Some of these are established psychological theories applied to the subject of fame, while others are more speculative.


Club Foot Dung Beetle Historical Figure Famous People Famous Individual 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Rogan, J. (1992) Morrissey and Marr: The Severed Alliance. London: Omnibus, p. 92.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Reynolds, S. (1990) Blissed out: The Raptures of Rock. London: Serpent s Tail, p. 25.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Simonton, D. K. (1994) Greatness: Who Makes History and Why. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Pearson, J. (1995) The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins (4th edition). London: HarperCollins.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    Cedo, J. E. (1996) The Artist and the Emotional World. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. 10.
    Milton, J. (1989) Paradise Lost, trans. C. Ricks, London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  7. 11.
    Jaynes, J. (1976) The Origin of consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Braudy, L. (1997) The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and its History (2nd edition). New York: Vintage Books, p. 84.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Cited in Clark, R. W. (1980) Freud. New York: Random House, p. 19.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    Adler, A. (1938) Social Interest (J. Linton and R. Vaughan, trans.). London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    Campbell, D. T. (1960) ‘Blind variation and selective retention in creative thought as in other knowledge processes’. Psychological Review, 67, pp. 380–400 (quoted in Simonton, Greatness., p. 166).CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 19.
    Cicero, M. T. (45 BC, 1943). ‘Tusculan disputations’. In J. E. King (trans.) Cicero in twenty-eight volumes, No. 18. London: William Heinemann.Google Scholar
  13. 20.
    Jamison, K. R. (1989) ‘Mood disorders and patterns of creativity in British writers and artists’. Psychiatry, 52, pp. 125–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 22.
    Erikson, E. H. (1950) Childhood and Society. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  15. 23.
    McAdams, D. P and de St. Aubin, E. (1992) A theory of generativity and its assessment through self-report, behavioral acts, and narrative themes in autobiography’. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 62, pp. 1003–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 24.
    See McAdams, D. P (1985) Power, Intimacy and the Life Story: Perso-nological Inquiries into Identity. New York: Cuilford Press.Google Scholar
  17. 25.
    Kotre, J. (1996) Outliving the Self: How We Live on in Future Generations. New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  18. 29.
    Sandeen, C. (1997) ‘Success defined by television: The value system promoted by PM magazine’. Critical Studies in Mass Communication, 14, pp. 77–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 30.
    Marshall, P D. (1997) Celebrity and Power: Fame in Contemporary Cultur. Minneepotis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  20. 31.
    Camson, J. (1994) Claims to Fame Celebrity in Contemporary America, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, p. 88.Google Scholar
  21. 39.
    Harvey, D. (1990) The Condition of Postmodernity. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, p. 289.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© David Giles 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Giles

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations