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Pleasing EveryoneMass Entertainment in Renaissance London and Golden-Age Hollywood$
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Jeffrey Knapp

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190634063

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190634063.001.0001

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The Author of Mass Entertainment

(p.197) Epilogue
Pleasing Everyone

Jeffrey Knapp

Oxford University Press

In recent decades, theater historians have strenuously argued that attributing plays to single authors such as Shakespeare belies the intensely collaborative nature of the Renaissance theater. The epilogue to Pleasing Everyone demonstrates how the same conceptual obstacles to claiming authorship in mass entertainment absorbed Charlie Chaplin, who came to view the auteur as necessarily having to match in himself the heterogeneity of his film crews and his mass audiences. The pressing question in Chaplin’s sound-era silent films—whether he should rightly be understood as a ruthless dictator or as a man of the people—is not particular to Chaplin, however: the epilogue closes with Orson Welles’s attempt to claim similar multiple personalities for himself in Citizen Kane.

Keywords:   One man, one film, Auteur, Collaboration, Distraction, Absorption, “Fourmost” personality, Chaplin, City Lights, Capra, Welles

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