Alive but Cancelled: The Public’s Response to the Controversial Author

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2021-08-25
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en
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This thesis explores how the public has responded to authors J.K. Rowling and Lionel Shriver, who have become the subject of public controversy, and what this response tells us about the current conceptions about the author. Academics like Wenche Ommundsen and English & Frow have established that authors are no longer the faceless names they once were, and several of them have reached a proper celebrity status. Especially now, in a time in which social media exerts great influence on how the general public views celebrities and concepts like “wokeness” and social justice become increasingly relevant topics, celebrities and celebrity authors are often expected to display socially just behaviour and reprimanded when they do not. By analysing the online responses to the controversies caused by these two prominent authors, this thesis argues that the public perceives a strong relationship between authors and their work and generally attributes a great deal of responsibility to popular authors with vast platforms. Keywords: Lionel Shriver; J.K. Rowling; literary celebrity; wokeness; cancel culture; Death of the Author; transphobia; cultural appropriation
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