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Melodrama and Modernity

Melodrama and Modernity
Author: Ben Singer
ISBN 13: 9780231113298
ISBN 10: 231113293
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: 2001-01-15
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
List Price: $40.00

Looking back to the sensational or "blood and thunder" melodramas (e.g., The Perils of Pauline, The Hazards of Helen, etc.), Singer uncovers a fundamentally modern cultural expression, one reflecting transformations in the sensory environment of the metropolis, in the experience of capitalism, in the popular imagination of gender, and in the exploitation of the thrill in popular amusement.


This text examines the melodrama of American popular theater and film between 1880 and 1920. Singer (affiliation not cited) considers melodrama as a product and a reflection of "modernity's experiential qualities, its ideological fluctuations, its cultural anxieties, its intertextual cross-currents, its social demographics, and its commercial practices"<-->(from the introduction). Coverage includes the "serial queens," the boom and bust of the popularly-priced "10-20- 30" stage melodramas and early film serials, and the marketing of film serials. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)