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Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon Paperback – March 2, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


“A fascinating study of the modern-day deity’s 25 years as the world’s most beloved BFF, exhaustively researched and elegantly considered. Buy it for the smartest Oprah fan you know.”
(Madison 2011-09-01)

“A fascinating new perspective on a media icon.”
(Vanessa Bush Booklist 2011-03-01)

“Budding and active scholars of cultural, popular, and religious studies will read with interest.”
(Jewell Anderson Library Journal 2011-03-15)

“If you read it [Oprah], you won't think about the connection between religion and consumer culture the same way again.”
(Thomas S. Kidd Patheos 2011-03-09)

“A unique analysis of the talk queen’s multimedia empire.”
(Shirley Bolden B.l.a.c. 2011-03-01)

“Makes a powerful case for viewing Oprah as a significant moment in religious culture.”
(Milo Yiannopoulos Catholic Herald 2011-04-20)

(Amy Frykholm Christian Century 2011-06-28)

“[Lofton’s] authorial voice is, by turns, instructing, funny, ironic, snide, brilliantly analytical, undeniably astute . . . and feisty.”
(Mary Farrell Bednarowski Feminist Collections 2013-02-20)

“Lofton’s careful and engaging work is sure to warrant responses. How wonderful that this book is the one to set the stage.”
(Jennifer Scanlon Journal Of American History 2011-12-01)

“Vitally important, both as an addition to cultural studies in general, and a challenge to the question of how to study American religion. Not only does she break new ground in thoughtful cultural analysis of a complicated American icon, she helps to solidify the potential for a new category of interdisciplinary religious studies scholarship.”
(Kate Netzler Journal Of American Culture 2011-09-01)

"Thoroughly researches, engagingly written, deftly weaving together major currents of US religious and cultural history, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon will hold great interest for students and scholars in religious studies, American studies, and media and cultural studies, but Winfrey's fans may also enjoy this lively exegesis of their heroine."
(Janice Peck Journal Of American Stds 2012-02-01)

"Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon is an important addition to the study of religion in America because it takes into account the religious impact of popular media. . . . What Lofton is advocating is that popular culture contains within it people and performances that shape religion in America."
(Amy Collier Artman Journal Of Religion 2012-04-01)

From the Inside Flap

"Better than celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley, Kathryn Lofton exposes Oprah's secret—the religious resonance of her persona in popular culture. Brilliantly orchestrated, full of ah-ha and light-bulb moments, Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon takes us into the mediated spirituality, collective rituals, and everyday epiphanies of being Oprah and being in Oprah's world. If you are looking for sensationalism and scandal, read this book and find a sensational, substantial, and insightful analysis of religion and American popular culture."—David Chidester, author of Authentic Fakes: Religion and American Popular Culture

“Lofton manages a rare feat. This book shakes and awakens our minds, compelling us to interpret and make sense of a multifaceted woman who has become a consumer and cultural phenomenon unprecedented in American and world history.”--Eva Illouz, author of Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture

"Lofton's Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon defies categorization, offering a brilliantly creative way to explore what religion is and where we look to find it. It's all here—fashion, celebrity, media, glamour, and spirituality, an analysis of the world that produced Oprah as well as the world that Oprah produces."—J. Terry Todd, Director, Center on Religion, Culture & Conflict, Drew University

"Lofton brilliantly analyzes the Oprah phenomenon in religio-historical context. Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon provides a new way of understanding how Oprah operates as a preacher and as a missionary in spite of the presumed secularity of her enterprises, and shows how her world successfully intertwines commerce and religion. It is a truly outstanding work."—Cynthia Eller, Montclair State University

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (March 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520267524
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520267527
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #334,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
this is thoughtful and thorough scholarship, but it also misses a significant portion of what oprah's about: tele-visuality. oprah's show is primarily a visual media and secondarily (if not tertiarily after her web presence) a textual enterprise. it seems, to me, that oprah often riffed and came up with her own pseudo-spritual gospel live. sure, maybe this IS the gospel that lofton's talking about, but the lack of visual analysis is to the major detriment of what is for now the premier academic analysis of this american (and global) cultural juggernaut.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By BGHNOW on April 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Lofton thoroughly investigates and describes Oprah's actions in the world today as a religious icon. It is a fascinating read. I will read it again. There is a great deal to wrestle with in this book. Hopefully, other readers who write better than I do will provide some more thoughts here.
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Oprah: The Gospel of an Icon
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