Madonna has long been accepted as a pop culture icon, but this text postulates a greater cultural importance by analyzing her as a postmodern myth. This work examines how Madonna methodically discovered and constructed herself (often rewriting her past), the nature and extent of her ambition and the means she used to reach her goals. It also details the way in which she organized her own cult (borrowing from the gay community), devised her artistic output, and cunningly targeted different audiences. It also studies the fundamental contradiction - virgin or vamp? saint or prostitute? - that fuels Madonna's career and describes how Madonna reflects today's society, its contradictions and its attitudes toward sexuality and religion.
Georges-Claude Guilbert teaches American literature, gender studies and popular culture at the University of Rouen and is an editor of the electronic academic journal Cercles. He lives in Notre Dame de Bondeville, France.