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Oprah: The Gospel of an Iconby Kathryn Lofton
Synopses & Reviews
"Better than celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, Kathryn Lofton exposes Oprah's secret—the religious resonance of her persona in popular culture. Brilliantly orchestrated, full of ah-ha and light-bulb moments, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon takes us into the mediated spirituality, collective rituals, and everyday epiphanies of being Oprah and being in Oprah's world. If you are looking for sensationalism and scandal, read this book and find a sensational, substantial, and insightful analysis of religion and American popular culture."—David Chidester, author of Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture
Lofton manages a rare feat. This book shakes and awakens our minds, compelling us to interpret and make sense of a multifaceted woman who has become a consumer and cultural phenomenon unprecedented in American and world history.”--Eva Illouz, author of Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture
"Lofton's Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon defies categorization, offering a brilliantly creative way to explore what religion is and where we look to find it. It's all here—fashion, celebrity, media, glamour, and spirituality, an analysis of the world that produced Oprah as well as the world that Oprah produces."—J. Terry Todd, Director, Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict, Drew University
"Lofton brilliantly analyzes the Oprah phenomenon in religio-historical context. Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon provides a new way of understanding how Oprah operates as a preacher and as a missionary in spite of the presumed secularity of her enterprises, and shows how her world successfully intertwines commerce and religion. It is a truly outstanding work."—Cynthia Eller, Montclair State University
Today on Oprah,” intoned the TV announcer, and all over America viewers tuned in to learn, empathize, and celebrate. In this book, Kathryn Lofton investigates the Oprah phenomenon and finds in Winfreys empire—Harpo Productions, O Magazine, and her new television network—an uncanny reflection of religion in modern society. Lofton shows that when Oprah liked, needed, or believed something, she offered her audience nothing less than spiritual revolution, reinforced by practices that fuse consumer behavior, celebrity ambition, and religious idiom. In short, Oprah Winfrey is a media messiah for a secular age. Loftons unique approach also situates the Oprah enterprise culturally, illuminating how Winfrey reflects and continues historical patterns of American religions.
About the Author
Kathryn Lofton is the Sarai Ribicoff Associate Professor of American Studies and Religious Studies at Yale University.
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