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Journal of English Philology

Ed. by Kornexl, Lucia / Lenker, Ursula / Middeke, Martin / Rippl, Gabriele / Zapf, Hubert

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Volume 134, Issue 3


Losing One’s Illusions: Affective Sense-Making in Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton and the Popular Media

Elina Valovirta / Joel Kuortti
Published Online: 2016-09-09 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2016-0051


The article discusses the affective narrative strategies that constitute the author Salman Rushdie’s portrait of his fourth marriage to the actress, model, and Top Chef host, Padma Lakshmi, as expressed in Rushdie’s recent memoir, Joseph Anton (2012), and in a representative sample of some 180 international tabloid media news stories. Both Rushdie and the popular media use a language of affect in covering the celebrity relationship. They demonstrate through the use of defamiliarization and illusions (in Joseph Anton), and disbelief and comparison of seemingly disparate physical attributes (in the media), how emotional discourse serves to characterize Rushdie’s life both in his own words and in the words of tabloid media. We argue that particularly the media representation surrounding the celebrity relationship further established Rushdie’s status as a celebrity author, but also that the publicity failed to create a celebrity power couple because of the media’s univocal attention on the perceived grotesque discrepancy between Rushdie and Lakshmi’s looks.

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About the article

Published Online: 2016-09-09

Published in Print: 2016-09-01

Citation Information: Anglia, Volume 134, Issue 3, Pages 491–505, ISSN (Online) 1865-8938, ISSN (Print) 0340-5222, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2016-0051.

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