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Edited by Kate Bailey


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Originating from the Latin for goddess, our concept of what a diva might be - or should be - has evolved in richness and complexity.

Delving into the personas of performers from Sarah Bernhardt to Rihanna, this book looks at what it has meant to be a diva, and what unites and defines these unique artists. Opening with 19th-century opera stars and 20th-century silent-screen sirens, it then focuses on different aspects of divadom- from Hollywood icons such as Elizabeth Taylor and Bette Davis cultivating their image to the activism of artists such as Billie Holiday and Miriam Makeba; from the acumen shown by Dolly Parton and Beyonce to the development of radical new musical identities by Madonna, Missy Elliot and Lady Gaga; from new ways of performing gender and sexuality by Tina Turner, Freddie Mercury and Grace Jones to the tensions between public and private experienced by the likes of Amy Winehouse and Liza Minnelli.

Edited by: Kate Bailey

Hardcover  Published 2 October 2023  224 pages

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