20 thoughts on “Blog entries on Buckley and Brooks, due Feb. 5

  1. Pingback: English 49013: Melodrama, Spring 2019 – Renata Kobetts Miller, Ph.D.

  2. Renata

    Melodrama students,
    Please post your blog entries here in the “Leave a Reply” field. When you post it, I will receive an email asking me to approve it. Your entry will not become visible until I approve it.
    Renata

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    1. Randy Morales

      After reading The forest of Bondy ; or The Dog of Montargis, it became somewhat clear to how melodrama functions. While reading the play it came to my attention that music was used in vital circumstances such as to be used as a replacement for Florio’s voie. On page three of Williams book, revealed in the introduction, it states that “ scholars and critics,too , have noticed that melodrama ‘oscillates’ between absorption and sudden shock… (shifts in spectatorial attention)”. This is where the character Florio comes in again ; the fact that he is mute but has all these exaggerated gestures to make the “shift” occur to make sure the audience has his complete attention. Another aspect of melodrama that was introduced to me is the usage of hyperbole actions. The hyperbolic Brooks concludes that “dramatic confrontation… takes us to the core of melodramas premises and design”. When I read that, the scene of Macaire and Aubri came straight to my mind. Macaire confronts Aubri in a very intense and s clearly hyperbolic manner. The way that Macaire stopped Aubri and stated he took everything away from him just reminded me of a child telling someone else that he does not like them. I also observed the “ triumph of villainy” as Brooks mentioned on page 29. It seemed that Macaire was going to get away with the murder of Aubri in Scene 2, fortunately he did not.

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  3. Oliver

    The Forest of Bondy seems to contain and illustrate several of the ideas laid out by Peter Brooks in The Melodramatic Imagination. In the play, Dame Gertrude partially fulfills the “[v]irtue is…represented by a young heroine” (32) concept. Eloi, as the wrongly accused unable to defend himself, also represents “virtue-as-innocence” being put into a situation of “extreme peril” (31). Without the ability to speak, Eloi “cannot effectively articulate the cause of the right” (31), though in this case it is a literal tongue tie as opposed to as a result of a vow not to question familial ties. However, the result is the same; “evil appears to reign triumphant” (31). But virtue is recovered by a recognition—“a clarification of signs” (or in this case, evidence) of evil then of virtue. Macaire admits to his deceit and crimes. His leap from the cliff acts as a “spectacular enactment of the ritual” of what Brooks deems “melodrama’s version of the tragic catharsis” (32). At the end of the play, it is clear “ where virtue and evil reside, and the eradication of one as the reward of the other.” This is a “public recognition”: “The curtain drops amidst the huzzahs of the peasantry that the murderer has at length met with his merited fate” (Pixerecourt 237). In the end, virtue and evil have been identified and order has been restored. This process perhaps serves to (and satisfies a need to) strengthen the societal bonds of “right and wrong.” Concurrently, none of the characters have changed throughout this process, which lends an element of the Picaresque to the Melodrama as a genre.

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  4. Xena Leycea Bruno

    Brooks attempts to define melodrama by identifying key designs or aesthetics that are prominent in many melodramatic works. Brooks breaks down melodrama into the sign of virtue, structures of the Manichaean, and the rhetorical drama. I could see how The Forest of Bondy; or the Dog of Montargis falls into these categories. The biggest aesthetic that I identified was the sign of virtue. Based on Brook’s examples, I found Florio to be the virtuous character. Although Elizabeth faced more hardships and then proves that she is virtuous by protecting the man who was responsible for the downfall of her family, I see similarities between her and Florio indicating that he is the characterization of virtue. For example, Brooks describes a scene where there is a flood and Elizabeth is trapped on the island until Lizinka’s gravestone board floats providing Elizabeth with a raft to safety (Brooks, 27). According to Brooks, the scene is exaggerated however it serves the purpose of virtuous recognition. A similar event happens when Gertrude demands that the Seneschal halt Florio’s execution under the evidence that Dragon, Captain Aubri’s beloved dog, licked Florio’s hands yet growled and chased Macaire -the true murderer- (Pixerecourt, 229). The ridiculous idea that a dog showing affection to one person and aggression to another is enough to absolve or implicate someone of their crime, is very similar to the “silly” scene that Brooks provides of Elizabeth.

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  5. Argenis Santana

    In Matthew Buckley’s Early English Melodrama, provides information to how melodrama was introduced to England from France. The reading goes on to mention how English melodrama continued to expand and how different forms of English Melodrama were developed. In his section titled 1800-1820: Generic Expansion, Buckley explains the different forms of melodrama and provides examples of works of playwriters that fall under the different categories of melodrama.
    Some of the different forms of melodrama he includes are Gothic melodrama, grand romantic melodrama, military melodrama, etc. I liked how he goes through each form explaining when it became popular and how it still had an impact when it wasn’t as popular anymore. The impact of these forms is discussed in the last section of the article with the small changes within the genres. In addition, in that same section mentions how one of the new forms of melodrama has some characteristics of the older genres.
    In reading The Forest of Bondy or The Dog of Montargis, I was trying to figure out based on Buckley article what genre of melodrama would the play fit into.

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  6. Rana A alsayegh

    Melodrama has its roots in the eighteenth century and was influenced by French revolution.
    The first time the word melodrama was used in English is to describe a play in 1802, A Tale of Mystery, which was based on a French melodrama.
    Even thought melodrama came from France to England, its development and growth happened in England and all over Europe. In England, the dramatic intermixture of genre and mode was freer and not under control, and the spectacular and musical theatrical production was more powerful and advanced.
    Early English melodrama developed in a sequence, each new subgenre expanding upon the success of the last.
    First it was Gothic melodrama that dominated the century’s first years, then came Grand romantic melodrama which kept Gothic melodrama’s lurid violence but heightened the romanticism of its action and tempered melodrama’s terrors.
    Grand romantic melodrama moved from dream to reverie and the set of its action was not connected with religious frame. It reached its highest point of development of patent house melodrama in England, but by 1810, the subgenre’s moment had passed especially after the loss by fire of patent houses. Like Gothic melodrama, romantic melodrama did not disappear and came back around 1820.
    Military melodrama kept romantic characterization and heightened marital heroism and spectacular force. Its aim was not the creation of fantastic adventure, but the vivid recreation of recent national historical events. It did not enjoy continued popularity because its appeal was derived largely from its freshness in time.
    National historical melodrama extended military melodrama’s realism and focused on racial, religious, and class difference within the nation. It was with national historical melodrama that the patent theaters finally gave up their position and illegitimate stage began.
    Domestic melodrama focused on familial life and provided female protagonist with heroic position. It was concerned with emotional response and was more intimate and personal in tone.
    Pixerecourt’s play is a dramatic intermixture of genre and mode combining emotional and sensational elements. It has emphasis on action and emotion, this can be seen when Gertrude says, “the bell rang violently. I opened the casement, looked out, and saw Captain Aubri’s dog, Dragon (…) he barked and drew me by the gown, as if he meant to say his master was in danger. Trembling and astonished, I followed him to the entrance of the forest (…) he never rested till he had exposed to my view oh, piteous sight! The body of his murdered master!” (p, 227).
    Also, there is an emphasis on music to accompany action and shape feeling which is seen with Florio who can’t speak, “Music. FLORIO throws himself on his knees to the SENESCHAL and weeps.” (p, 229).

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  7. Fariha Wadud

    While reading the second chapter of Peter Brooks’ The Melodramatic Imagination, I found it interesting that melodramas can be broken down into three different parts. Because I read The Forest of Bondy before I read the critical works, I did not realize that Pixérécourt was following a common structure of melodramas. After reading Brooks’ chapter, I became more aware of what to expect from future melodramas.
    As Brooks explains, melodramas open up with an illustration of innocence and virtue that will be threatened in the second part of the play. In the beginning of Pixérécourt’s play, Pixérécourt sets up a background of innocence and happiness through Gertrude and Blaise’s lively conversation and through the characters of Lucille and Florio. As they decorate the inn in preparation for the soldiers, Lucille and Florio playfully display their mutual affection for one another, contributing to the theme of innocence and virtue that Brooks claims makes up the first part of melodramas.
    The second act of the play marks the battle between evil and goodness that Brooks claims is a another feature of melodramas. Aubri represents complete goodness in that he is a great captain and refuses to participate in a duel and potentially take someone’s life (221). On the other hand, Macaire is extremely jealous and allows this jealousy to motivate him to kill Aubri. Although I found Macaire’s jealousy extreme and unreasonable, Brooks clarifies that evil does not need justification in melodramas. While jealousy is a human trait, it is very rare that people allow their jealousy to lead them to a measure as drastic as murder. However, as Brooks claims, melodramas are more interested in expressing evil rather than explaining it.
    Brooks reveals that the third part of the play is when goodness is restored and evil is eradicated. In The Forest of Bondy, the removal of evil is explicit when Macaire plunges from a rock into the stream below. Another important element that Brooks mentions is present in the end of melodramas is when characters that serve as judges realize their mistakes. In this play, this is when Colonel Gontram and Seneschal realize that more incriminating evidence points to Macaire than to Florio. I think it is interesting that melodramas follow a certain structure because this places more emphasis on the concrete aspects of the play than it does on the abstract. While we usually emphasize reading the nuances in literature, I think it will be interesting to focus on what is there for a change.

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  8. Aurora Soriano

    Aurora Soriano

    In ‘Early English Melodrama’, Matthew Buckley offers an expansive timeline (that, in many cases, is nonlinear, often with overlapping years) of the history of English melodrama. Buckley is surprised that the breakthrough of melodrama should have happened in France when England was where trends often began and developed. Buckley does emphasize that England is the reason for global knowledge of melodrama, saying, “If melodrama arrived in England from France, it was from England, and through the forms developed there in its first four decades of
    growth, that it reached the world” (15).

    Buckley then tracks the ‘Development and Growth’ of early English melodrama in a slightly confusingly circular method, which begins to make more sense as you see how often there were revivals of genres, specific plays, and themes that occurred. It appears the most growth happens in 1800-1820, in which Gothic melodrama, exotic or ‘grand romantic’ melodrama, military melodrama, national-historical melodrama, and domestic melodrama all contributed to the rise of melodrama as a whole, and showed shifts in historic moments and audience interests. I found it interesting that the two types of melodrama that were specified to have solidified melodrama as a profitable or valid venture were the grand romantic melodrama and the national-historical melodrama. It was also interesting to note the reasons for the ebb and flow of success of certain themes in melodrama depending on the historic moment and popular opinion of the time. Whether it was the rejection of the Gothic, as the fear of long-dead aristocracy and old religion seemed too far off, or the growth of types of melodrama that were concerned with more ordinary life and people as opposed to the fantastic, or having “conflicts focused on ethnic, religious, and class differences within the nation,” melodrama always seemed to grow (and recede) with the times (20).

    Finally, Buckley includes two other notable shifts in melodrama that happened after the 1820s. One was the nautical melodrama that relied on escapism from the ‘realities’ that were being shown in domestic melodrama that many felt weren’t true because of “displacement, poverty, and urban overcrowding” (25). In the 1830s, the melodrama of economic distress deals with “common suffering, economic exploitation, collective violence, and criminal adventure” (27) and marked a change in the perception of melodrama. Buckley says, “For contemporaries, including not least Pixérécourt himself, the advent of crime melodrama in particular marked…the form’s bitter fall into illegitimacy and degeneracy, and it was from this time that the term itself became not merely derogatory but condemnatory” (29).

    In thinking about Pixérécourt’s “The Forest of Bondy; or The Dog of Montargis” in relation to the history of early English melodrama, it is of course notable that Pixérécourt himself is often mentioned. Early on, Buckley notes that “ Coelina [written by Pixérécourt] is different from these, not in kind but by degree: it compresses, distils, synthetizes just a little bit more – and in so doing, crosses a threshold, prompting a reaction both novel and sought after for many years” (14). Reading the descriptions of each type of melodrama, I noted similarities from a few sections and “The Dog of Montargis”. Its story is a myth from the 14th century, giving it similarities to the national-historical melodrama, and while there’s a lawlessness in the murder of Aubri that feels like the more updated incarnations of the Gothic melodrama, it also has the more ordinary feeling of the domestic melodrama. Noting these similarities, I’m interested to explore in class how exactly Pixérécourt has embodied and combined these aspects of melodrama in a way that has held him at such high esteem.

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  9. Tanisah Delvaille

    When we think of English melodrama as a whole we have to take into account the subgenres that made English melodrama whole.

    Early English melodrama began with the subgenre Gothic melodrama. Even though melodrama first came from France, it needed a starting point of it’s own and that was in the beginning of 1800 when, “the brief fashion for Gothic melodrama at Dury Lane and Covent Garden.” (Williams, 16) started. Even though Gothic melodrama was just a phase to the starting point it never really died.

    After Gothic melodrama there was romantic melodrama, which “rose back into fashion around 1820” (Williams, 18). With the rise of grand romantic melodrama it was able to help the patent houses expand because they weren’t doing so well financially. Gand romantic melodrama focuses on the extraordinary heroic adventure.

    Grand romantic melodrama didn’t fade out, but we did see another subgenre emerge and that was in the form of military melodrama, which came about in the early teens and focused on, “retaining romantic characterizations and heightening martial heroism and spectacular force” (Williams, 19). Unlike other subgenres that focused on the mythic and exotic aspects of melodrama. Unlike gothic and grand romantic melodrama, military melodrama didn’t get revived because it was only popular at that time period.

    With military melodrama not being revived it made way for national-historical melodrama, which set aside the martial aspect of the drama, and no longer focused on “the reenactment of foreign battles to the sentimental recreation of Britain’s past” (Williams, 20).

    Unlike the other subgenres national-historical melodrama would be around for many decades as it was, “a foundation of popular national and cultural identity” (Williams, 20). Which helped the houses as it was copied and adapted to multiple stages.

    The last part to make up the whole of English melodrama is domestic melodrama. With domestic melodrama we see the females being brought into the spotlight by giving them “heroic stature quite unlike anything seen” (Williams, 21). This means they no longer focused on feudal ideas of society and identity, but focused, “not with adventure but its aftermath, not with war but the return home” (Williams, 22). This type of subgenre focused more on the intimate and personal tone of the genre.

    And so with the aid of domestic melodrama, English melodrama’s historical development was complete since all these subgenres brought a purpose with them to the stage.

    Works cited
    Williams, Carolyn. The Cambridge Companion to English Melodrama. Cambridge University Press, 2018

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  10. Tzipporah Machlah Klapper

    Brooks begins his study of melodrama with a long explanation of why he is studying it at all. He attributes his own interest in the subject to the general renewed critical interest in popular literature and to the borrowing of modern art from “the structures and stereotypes from the most widely distributed and unselfconscious fictions and objects” (Brooks x). The novel in general, he argues, is a popular form and as such must change with the popular forms. Even the most literary book has a (sometimes unabashed) relation to penny dreadfuls and their ilk.

    He then continues to explain which specific works he is using to study melodrama and why. I was surprised at first to see that he included Euripides in his list of authors who become melodramatics at least some of the time. Euripides’ characters are generally complex and most do not fall into clear-cut categories of good and evil. In contrast, there is no depth at all to the characters in the Dog of Montargis – Macaire is a jealous murderer; Aubri is a good and honorable. Blaise is a disgusting creep; Florio a gentle and loving romantic interest.

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  11. Radhamely De Leon

    Pixerecourt’s play ‘The Forest of Bondy; or The Dog of Montargis’ is the perfect example of Brooks’s depiction of melodrama. The art form is created for all types of audiences to enjoy as the characters and their motives are easily understood. As Brooks states, “The expressive means of melodrama are all predicted on this subject: they correspond to the struggle toward recognition of the sign of virtue and innocence.” (Brooks, 28) We are shown virtue in ‘The Dog of Montargis’ through a variety of characters who are each wronged in their own way – Captain Aubri who proves to be honorable and kind, Florio who is innocent but cannot defend himself, and Lucille who vehemently defends her mate. There is a moment where violence and anger can possibly triumph, however the goal of melodrama is to show how virtue is the most honorable trait of all.

    In turn, Macaire and Landry are the “forceful representation of villainy” (Brooks, 33) in the play. Macaire’s toxic jealousy of Aubri’s courage and reputation are what drive him to try and execute a key representation of virtue in the play, and thus threatens the peace of everyone involved. The audience is left gripping their seats, but they are entirely involved in the drama that ensues. Brooks’s understanding of the melodrama shows exactly why it was an art form for the masses – the straight forward nature of this low brow art made it relatable and understandable to all.

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  12. Danielle Butler

    Danielle Butler

    The first thing that caught my attention while reading was the discrimination against Florio. Florio is obviously in love with Lucille but is referred to as disgusting names like “Dumby” by people like Blaise because he is unable to speak (pg. 217). Blaise’s hatred toward Florio is fueled by his love for Lucille. Blaise is jealous of their friendship. The feast for the regime of the guards that they’re all preparing for seems to be a big deal. A few of the men seemed to be jealous of Aubri. After the ballet when Gontram requested for someone to deliver his letter it was clear he was jealous that Aubri did not have to march with the other men. Sending Aubri into the forest late at night was an evil thing to do knowing the danger of the forest. When Dragon returns without Aubri the suspense starts to build up. When Blaise accused Florio of the murder it was his way of getting rid of him so he could get closer to Lucille. The whole murder was a set up. Landry and Macaire killed Aubri for their own selfish reasons. When Blaise is seen crying it’s obvious he is feeling sorry for setting up Florio. It was surprising when Blaise stuck up for Florio in the end helping him to save his life.

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  13. Anushua Arif

    The chapter on Early English Melodrama by Matthew Buckley was quiet interesting as it not only discusses the popularity of the genre itself, it also illustrates on all the sub-genres melodrama concerns and the way it had affected 19th century Europe. And Buckley also points out that Melodrama may have originated in France, but its spread all over the world was from its popularity in England.
    Buckley does a notable job in pointing out the sub genres of melodrama and their rise and fall due to popular demand or the change in time, or it can be even looked at how melodrama evolved over the years.
    The beginning of melodrama involved Gothic melodrama, which dominated the beginning of the 19th century, and moved over to Military, Historical melodrama, which made room for the less impressive nautical and domestic melodrama of the twenties, followed by crime and distress melodrama of the thirties, and concludes its transgression with the modified Adelphi melodrama of the forties.
    As much as I liked reading about almost all of the different genres of melodrama, I think I particularly enjoyed the explanation of domestic melodrama, which was were women were first introduced into the genre. It moved the genre into a new light, where it didn’t concern just tragedy and myth, but also incorporated the daily mundane of a contemporary life into the act.
    “Notably, domestic melodrama brought female protagonists to the fore and endowed them with a heroic stature quite unlike anything seen in those types of melodrama it followed in fashion. Domestic melodrama first appeared in the century ’ s opening decade, arguably with Kenney ’ s Ella Rosenberg (1807), a grand romantic melodrama that limited its action to the interior of the home and placed a heroic woman at centre stage.” (Buckley, 42)
    I also noticed the mention of the melodramatic adaptation of Frankenstein by Mary Shelly. and was intrigued by the concept of the already dramatic play becoming even more dramatized through the genre of melodrama.
    Overall, Buckley does a thorough job of explaining the progress and evolution of the genre melodrama,while highlighting each aspect of the types of it and the way it affected the society and the world as a whole.

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  14. Imani Mendoza

    Peter Brooks’ Aesthetics of Astonishment illustrates various aesthetic elements of melodrama—what he calls the core of its “premises and design…. spectacular excitement, the hyperbolic situation, and the grandiose phraseology” (25). Brooks goes on to say that melodramas often open with a “presentation of virtue or innocence” that is disrupted, or even destroyed, by some villain by the end of Act I or beginning of Act II; in the final act, the villain is defeated by the power of virtue, usually through some violent physical action, such as a duel, battle, or the like (32). The characters of the melodrama are marked by a lack of “interior depth” (35). In other words, each character is merely a representation of a moral quality or position; they are written to be symbolic. In Brooks’ words, melodramatic characters “represent extremes, and they undergo extremes, passing from heights to depths, or the reverse” (36). Brooks also lists three main stock characters: 1. the virtuous woman, 2. her companion (usually a handmaid, lover, peasant, or child), and 3. the villain (usually tyrant or oppressive force).

    The Forest of Bondy meets many of the criteria Brooks outlined in his piece. The play follows a young couple featuring a heroine, the beautiful peasant Lucille, and her companion Florio, a deaf young man taken in by Gertrude after his parents’ passing. When the newly successful Captain Aubri is murdered by the jealous Macaire at the end of Act II, the innocent Florio—a symbol of virtue—is ultimately blamed. At the end of the play his virtue is restored when Macaire is found out and takes to the cliffs, from which he ultimately jumps and ends his life. As the representation of evil, Macaire goes from high to low: first a respected solider, then a wanted murderer. His death also functions as a visual representation of this fall from grace, as he literally jumps from a cliff into the water below. In these ways, The Forest of Bondy checks many of the boxes Peter Brooks outlines in his Aesthetics of Astonishment.

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  15. Peter Brooks seemed to accurately define Melodrama and those characteristics are conveyed through “The Dog of Montargis”.The play “The Dog of Montargis” is a perfect example of the melodramatic features showcased in the play. One of the terms Brooks uses in describing the features of Melodrama is “excess”. “This book is about excess, about a mode of heightened dramatization inextricably bound up with the modern novel’s effort to signify.” (Brooks). “The Dog of Montargis” has a flair for excess. A perfect example of this is the final scene (scene 1, act 3) where Macaire admits to murdering Aubri. The scene shows Macaire jumping off of a cliff before the cops can apprehend him. It’s an act of drama and excess between the dialogue and stage direction. When reading this final scene, one can just visualize how action-packed and dramatic this scene is and how dramatic it has the potential to be when staged. Another component of melodrama mentioned by Brooks is the term romanticism. Romance breeds drama which can breed jealousy, violence, and at worse, death. “The Dog of Montargis” possesses a level of romanticism. The relationship between Lucille and Florio has a level of playful romanticism. Lucille even mentions marriage, however, the play doesn’t end in a marriage like most plays with melodramatic features. It shows a glimpse into their relationship but not a definite ending. This play has an ending but the issues will go on beyond the play because not every storyline has a concrete ending. Thus adding to the drama of the play which caters to one of the major features of melodrama.

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  16. Taiwo Oladele

    Melodrama was introduced to England from France at the premier of “The Tale of Mysteries”which is an adaptation of Coelina. The content of Coelina is not what caused the mania rather it’s effect. People were not merely entertained by the play but it gripped and moved them. During this era the over pour of emotion and sensation is what was heavily pursued and thats why this play was able to compliment this era so well. Buckley mentions that melodrama is a kind of illegitimate form because it has borrowed from so many other styles.

    According to Carolyn Williams, Melodramatic Technique focuses on form, music, acting and spectacle. The techniques allow the audience to be guided towards moments of shock, terror or sentiment. This kind of technique is highlighted in The Forest of Bondy, in the choosing of the setting as a Gothic Hall and with the choice of music in the opening act. Even the choosing of the disability that Florio has and it cause him to need to pantomime which can be a great accelerator of suspense and emotion.

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  17. Buckley gives a timeline of how the melodrama genre came to be. He begins his essay providing us with the detailed history of melodrama in England and how the genre traveled to France and got its breakthrough there. He speaks at length of the credit England deserved for being the birth place of many of the melodramatic trends. “If melodrama arrived in England from France, it was from England, and through the forms developed there in its first four decades of
    growth, that it reached the world » Buckley is really rooting for England’s credit, rightfully so.
    Buckley mentioned the different genres within the melodrama Gothic melodrama, romantic melodrama, military melodrama. They never actually disappear they simply bleed into one another when one loses and the other gains popularity. They are never discarded only re-imagined.
    I’m most interested in the music of melodrama. The highs are truly high and the lows are subterranean. The scenes make sense musically and rhythmically. Some scenes are shorter and the pace is clearly quick and it is what I would consider the ‘bridge’ of the song, it is simply there to get us to where we truly want to go. And then there are the slightly longer scenes that are more languid and indulgent. Even through all the rhythmic varieties of the scenes in the Dog of Montargis the end is satisfying for it’s predictably. The end manages to be abrupt yet satisfying. The music changes and the audience/reader is okay because the melodrama follows a formula.

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  18. Kelsie McGrath

    Mathew Buckley opens his piece “Early English Melodrama” with a brief description of the a work that cultivated the birth of melodrama. He notes that this work is known as Coelina. Buckley describes that Coelina was met with great enthustiasim for it’s intensity, which was not driven by the content of the play, but its effect. He then continues to detailes audiences responce to this work and uses tantillting langugae like “intoxicated”, “grippled” ect. I have very limted knowdged on the genre of melodrama and was very captivated while reading this introduction. I feel Buckley utilzed the idea to depcit melodrama as an exciting form before going into the history of its birth. Buckley also provides an exceptional definition for melodrama, “ a mixed and illegitimate form…of drama by mixing and condesning traditional genres and modes, extracting and combinding their most emotional and sensational elements..”. In Buckley’s subscetion “Development and Growth” I found it interesting that melodrama contains sub-genre that developed into a sequence. The Gothic drama dominated the first years, then moves through exotix, military and histprical melodramas of the teens, then the twenties, the crime melodrama of the thrites, and ends in the Adelphi melodrams or the “Victorian mode”. Buckly emphazes that this “sequence” of phases is not linear and it overlaps. Brooks also states that a melodramic play deals with aspect of virtue and innocence. Virtue overcome violence in order to form order and act as a resolve. In The Dog of Montargis Florio is a sign of virtue like Brooks example of Elizabeth. Florio is mute, meaning he is often misunderstood and eventually saved at the end.

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  19. Sanam Sheikh

    Sanam Sheikh
    English 49013
    Blog Entry #1

    In the introduction of “Early English Melodrama,” written by Carolyn Williams, I like how she started the introduction with a definition of melodrama and what it meant fifty years ago. Williams then speaks about how Melodrama developed and gives us an example of a melodrama that was written, “A Tale of Mystery.” Although Williams does say this was not technically the very first melodrama, this melodrama in particular had influenced the development of other melodramas. I also appreciate how Williams explains the breakdown of the book and what each part of the book entails. For instance, she explains, “Part III of this volume examines melodrama in relation to cultural discourses of gender, class, empire, and race” (Willams, p. 3). This definitely gives me an overview of Melodrama and what to expect as I read this book.
    In Peter Brooks, “The Melodramatic Imagination,” Brooks argues that Melodrama isn’t just a play that has a plot with characters. He believes because of the history behind it concerning the French Revolution, Melodrama plays are more a form of the reality and told stories about common things and people. He says, “The desire to express all seems a fundamental characteristic of the melodramatic mode. Nothing is spared because nothing is left unsaid; the characters stand on stage and utter the unspeakable, give voice to their deepest feelings, dramatize through their heightened and polarized words and gestures the whole lesson of their relationship,” (Brooks, p. 4). Brooks helps think deeper into Melodrama instead of seeing it as a fictional play or something that is pretend.

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