Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman / Edition 2

Contesting Tears: The Hollywood Melodrama of the Unknown Woman / Edition 2

by Stanley Cavell
     
 

What is marriage? Can a relationship dedicated to equality, friendship, and mutual education flower in an atmosphere of romance? What are the paths between loving another and knowing another? Stanley Cavell identified a genre of classic American films that engaged these questions in his study of comedies of remarriage, Pursuits of Happiness. With Contesting Tears,… See more details below

Overview

What is marriage? Can a relationship dedicated to equality, friendship, and mutual education flower in an atmosphere of romance? What are the paths between loving another and knowing another? Stanley Cavell identified a genre of classic American films that engaged these questions in his study of comedies of remarriage, Pursuits of Happiness. With Contesting Tears, Cavell demonstrates that a contrasting genre, which he calls "the melodrama of the unknown woman," shares a surprising number and weave of concerns with those comedies. Cavell provides close readings of four melodramas he finds definitive of the genre: Letter from an Unknown Woman; Gaslight; Now, Voyager; and Stella Dallas. The women in these melodramas, like the women in the comedies, demand equality, shared education, and transfiguration, exemplifying for Cavell a moral perfectionism he identifies as Emersonian. But unlike the comedies, which portray a quest for a shared existence of expressiveness and joy, the melodramas trace instead the woman's recognition that in this quest she is isolated. Part of the melodrama concerns the various ways the men in the films (and the audiences of the films) interpret and desire to force the woman's consequent inaccessibility.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226098166
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
02/28/1997
Edition description:
1
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
768,615
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

A Note on the Captions
Preface
Introduction3
1Naughty Orators: Negation of Voices in Gaslight47
2Psychoanalysis and Cinema: Moments of Letter from an Unknown Woman81
3Ugly Duckling, Funny Butterfly: Bette Davis and Now, Voyager115
4Postscript: To Whom It May Concern151
5Stella's Taste: Reading Stella Dallas197
Notes223
Bibliography231
Filmography241
Index243

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