London Met book nominated for major American Studies Prize

'The Stardom Tale' by Dr Karen McNally is in the running for the 2021 British Association of American Studies Book Prize.

Date: 15 February 2021

Film and Television Studies Senior Lecturer Dr Karen McNally's recently published monograph The Stardom Film: Creating the Hollywood Fairy Tale has been nominated for the 2021 British Association of American Studies Book Prize.

Published by Wallflower at Columbia University Press, Dr McNally’s book is the first to explore a genre of films that centre on the myth of Hollywood stardom, tracing the genre’s history from silent cinema to films of the 21st century. Drawing on extensive archival research, the book considers the various tropes that define the genre, the impact of its association with other key genres (the melodrama, musical, film noir and horror), the films’ reflections on the blurred boundaries between myth, image and reality, and the genre’s construction of stardom around idealized white femininity.

Moving between fictional narratives, biopics and films that occupy a space in between, the book explores both early films that establish the genre’s alignment of stardom with a modern-day female myth of the West and more familiar films including A Star is Born (1937 and 1954), Sunset Boulevard (1950), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Judy (2019).

The book has been reviewed by Steven Cohan, Professor Emeritus Syracuse University, as 'lively and insightful...original and well-researched. Recommended reading for anyone interested in stardom and the many complex ways Hollywood has treated it on film.' 

Adrienne McLean, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas describes The Stardom Film as 'an engaging, lucid, and comprehensive study...a valuable resource for anyone interested in the tropes by which celebrity and stardom remain intertwined with our social and professional identities.'