Another clue for you all' : the hysterical realism of the 'Paul is dead' conspiracy theory in the golden age of paranoia

Source document: Theory and Practice in English Studies. 2020, vol. 9, iss. 1-2, pp. [29]-43
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When a rumor spread in 1969, that Paul McCartney had died and been replaced by a double, American Beatlemaniacs scrambled to examine every album in search of death clues.' This paper examines the Paul Is Dead conspiracy theory by building on studies of the cult of celebrity, James Wood's concept of hysterical realism, Emily Apter's concept of "oneworldedness", and Timothy Melley's theory of "agency panic." It ultimately argues that our tendency to bury celebrities and create alternate (paranoid) narratives about them stems not only from our rejection of consensus reality but also our simultaneous desire to mythologize our idols to seek comfort in eras of social uncertainty.
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