Thursday, August 23, 2007
Results of the Regency Celebrity Poll
A few months ago I asked readers to vote on my website for the person they considered to be the ultimate Regency celebrity. There was a huge response and the results are now in. It was especially interesting to read the fascinating comments that accompanied the nominations.
Here are the results:
With an impressive 48% of the vote, the runaway winner was Jane Austen. Whilst acknowledging that she was not a "celebrity" in her own time, people commented that her current celebrity status was based on achievement and they valued enormously the contribution she had made to literature.
In second place with 18% of the vote was Lord Byron. The man who was "mad, bad and dangerous to know" was, in the words of one voter a man who was built up, lionized and torn down in the same fashion that modern celebrities experience.
In third place on 12% was Beau Brummell. One reader commented: "He was famous for nothing in particular, like many of our celebrities today who are just famous without having any particular accomplishments."
Mary Shelley got 4% of the vote, as did the Prince Regent himself. There were also honourable mentions for war heroes Nelson, Wellington, Cochrane and Napoleon, and for several fictional creations such as Mr Darcy.
I will be looking at the cult of celebrity in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century in an article for the Historical Novel Review's autumn edition.
Posted by Historical Romance Author at 2:23 PM