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: How can the modern individual control his or her self-representation when the whole world seems to be watching? The question is not a new one Julia Fawcett traces it back to 18th-century London--and to the strange and spectacular self-representations performed there by England's first modern celebrities. Included in Spectacular Disappearances are the enormous wig that actor, manager, and playwright Colley Cibber donned as Lord Foppington-and that later reappeared on the head of Cibber's cross-dressing daughter, Charlotte Charke; the black page of Tristram Shandy, a page so full of ink that it cannot be read; the puffs and prologues that David Garrick used to heighten his publicity while protecting his privacy; the epistolary autobiography of Garrick's protegee George Anne Bellamy; and the elliptical poems and portraits of poet, actress, and royal courtesan Mary Robinson, known throughout her life as Perdita. Fawcett proposes the concept of "over-expression" as the unique quality that unites these events, allowing celebrities to meet their spectators' demands for disclosure without giving themselves away. Like a spotlight so brilliant it is blinding, these exaggerated but illegible self-representations suggest a new way of understanding key aspects of celebrity culture across time. They also challenge many of the disciplinary divides between theatrical character and novelistic character in 18th-century studies, or between performance studies and literary studies today. Drawing on a wide variety of materials and methodologies, Spectacular Disappearances provides an overlooked but indispensable history for those interested in celebrity studies, performance studies, and autobiography-and anyone curious about the origins of the eighteenth-century self.