Jackie Under My Skin Interpreting an Icon

Wayne Koestenbaum

Picador

0312429231

9780312429232

Trade Paperback

304 Pages

$15.00

CAD19.00

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Jackie Under My Skin is a passionate investigation of the ways Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis transformed America's definition of celebrity, identity, and style. In a gallery of fantasies and tableaux, Wayne Koestenbaum explains the late first lady’s hold on Americans by examining the myths and metaphors that we've attached to her. An exuberant paean to a great star, Jackie Under My Skin is also a meditation on fame, mortality, and the difficulty of defining desire.

REVIEWS

Praise for Jackie Under My Skin

"Pop interpretation at its finest . . . and every bit of it is fun to read."—The Boston Globe

"Koestenbaum is an engaging, erudite writer."—The Washington Post

"Dazzling, exuberant . . . Koestenbaum writes with a heady lyricism that makes Jackie-watching an exercise of the soul as well as of the intellect."—New York Magazine

"Koestenbaum's explanation of the Jackie O phenomenon is as fresh and thought-provoking as they come."—Los Angeles Times

"Some of the most entertaining prose in years . . . A thoughtful and unexpectedly moving book."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Impassioned insight . . . By turns comic and elegaic, respectful and blasphemous...little or nothing escapes [Koestenbaum's] gaze."—Newsday

"Audacious and brilliant . . . you'll never look at Jackie the same way again."—The Hartford Courant

"Intriguing, antic, campy, erudite."—Entertainment Weekly

"Brilliant . . . Koestenbaum's steely finger never leaves the quickening pulse of American mythology."—Memphis Commercial Appeal

"Buoyant, witty . . . daring, truthful, and fun."—Literary Review (UK)

"Worshipful and irreverent, serious and comical, academic and gossipy . . . not to be missed."—Richmond Times Dispatch

"A tour de force of camp style and wit."—New Statesman & Society (UK)

"What magnificent work! And probing intelligence! I consider it one of the most brilliant litanies in literature."—Alexander Theroux

"The same kind of serious play that distinguished Koestenbaum's earlier book, The Queen's Throat, a highly regarded study of opera and homosexuality, shapes the Yale English professor's scrutiny of the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—and, more exactly, of the highly charged gap between the private woman and the public icon she became. In brief chapters, her signature sunglasses and scarf, her coiffure ('battle gear of a woman of means''), even the 'O' of her name occasion manic, inventive and sometimes wildly funny ruminations. In 'Silent Jackie,' Maria Callas is quoted as saying that Onassis 'spoke like Marilyn Monroe playing Ophelia'; in 'Jackie as Housewife,' Onassis is at once the devoted helpmate of powerful men and the star whose allure obscured them; 'Exotic Jackie,' always conscious of her public role, was 'in exile from herself, a bemused visitor to her own body' . . . Those fascinated by the cult of celebrity will find Koestenbaum's analysis of an enduring American icon a compelling contribution in cultural studies."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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WAYNE KOESTENBAUM has published five books of poetry, one novel, and six books of nonfiction. A graduate of Harvard and Princeton, he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Visiting Professor in the painting department of the Yale School of Art.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Wayne Koestenbaum

  • Wayne Koestenbaum has published five books of poetry, one novel, and six books of nonfiction. A graduate of Harvard and Princeton, he is a Distinguished Professor of English at the CUNY Graduate Center and a Visiting Professor in the painting department of the Yale School of Art.
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