This newly commissioned series of essays by leading scholars is the first volume to offer both an overview of the field and also current emerging critical views on the history, form, and influence of English melodrama. Authoritative voices provide an introduction to melodrama's early formal features such as tableaux and music, and trace the development of the genre in the nineteenth century through the texts and performances of its various sub-genres, the theatres within which the plays were performed, and the audiences who watched them. The historical contexts of melodrama are considered through essays on topics including contemporary politics, class, gender, race, and empire. And the extensive influences of melodrama are demonstrated through a wide-ranging assessment of its ongoing and sometimes unexpected expressions - in psychoanalysis, in other art forms (the novel, film, television, musical theatre), and in popular culture generally - from the nineteenth to the twenty-first century.
About the Author
Carolyn Williams is Professor in the Department of English at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She is the author of Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody (2010), Transfigured World: Walter Pater's Aesthetic Historicism (1990) and the co-edited collection of essays (with Laurel Brake and Lesley Higgins), Walter Pater: Transparencies of Desire (2003).
Table of Contents1. Introduction Carolyn Williams; Part I. Histories of English Melodrama: 2. Early English melodrama Matthew Buckley; 3. Gothic melodrama Michael Gamer; 4. Nautical melodrama Ankhi Mukherjee; 5. Domestic melodrama Christine Gledhill; 6. Theatres and their audiences Jim Davis; Part II. Melodramatic Technique: 7. Melodramatic music Michael V. Pisani; 8. Melodramatic acting George Taylor; 9. Stagecraft, spectacle, and sensation Hayley Jayne Bradley; Part III. Melodrama and Nineteenth-Century English Culture: 10. Melodrama and gender Katherine Newey; 11. Melodrama and class Rohan McWilliam; 12. Melodrama and empire Marty Gould; 13. Melodrama and race Sarah Meer; Part IV. Extensions of Melodrama: 14. Melodrama and the realist novel Carolyn Williams; 15. Melodrama and early [silent] film David Mayer; 16. Moving picture melodrama Jane M. Gaines; 17. Melodrama and the modern musical Sharon Aronofsky Weltman; 18. Melodrama and psychoanalysis Peter Brooks; 19. Metamodern melodrama and contemporary mass culture Juliet John.