The Edwardian Selfies: A Transhistorical Approach to Celebrity Culture and Pictorial Bookplates

O'Hagan, Lauren Alex and Spilioti, Tereza (2021). The Edwardian Selfies: A Transhistorical Approach to Celebrity Culture and Pictorial Bookplates. Discourse, Context and Media, 43, article no. 100522.



In this paper, we will explore, through a narrative-semiotic lens, how 32 Edwardian (1901–1914) celebrities style the ‘self’ in their pictorial bookplates. Using Zhao and Zappavigna, 2018a, Zhao and Zappavigna, 2018b, Zhao and Zappavigna, 2020, Ross and Zappavigna, 2020 typology of selfies as a starting point and drawing upon aspects of Bamberg and Georgakopoulou’s (2008) positioning analysis, we will embed users’ visual arrangements and narrative stance-taking elements in ethnohistorical insights gathered from archival research. Grounding these choices in evidence from their original sociohistorical context of creation will demonstrate that, like selfies, pictorial bookplates are dynamic multimodal ensembles that enable users to construct multiple identities and achieve different communicative goals. However, it will offer a more nuanced perspective into the relationship between ‘new’ and ‘old’ media, suggesting that, despite the similar forms and functions of pictorial bookplates and selfies, their creation is guided by different ideological values and bounded by the affordances, norms and traditions of the time. The methodology and findings presented in this paper will contribute to the growing body of transhistorical research that is concerned with situating communication technologies in the wider history of technologically mediated change.

Viewing alternatives

Download history


Public Attention

Altmetrics from Altmetric

Number of Citations

Citations from Dimensions

Item Actions