Melodrama and Modernity

Early Sensational Cinema and Its Contexts

Author: Ben Singer

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231505079

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 256

View: 5639

In this groundbreaking investigation into the nature and meanings of melodrama in American culture between 1880 and 1920, Ben Singer offers a challenging new reevaluation of early American cinema and the era that spawned it. Singer looks back to the sensational or "blood and thunder" melodramas (e.g., The Perils of Pauline, The Hazards of Helen, etc.) and uncovers a fundamentally modern cultural expression, one reflecting spectacular 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. Written with verve and panache, and illustrated with 100 striking photos and drawings, Singer's study provides an invaluable historical and conceptual map both of melodrama as a genre on stage and screen and of modernity as a pivotal idea in social theory.
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Literature, Technology, and Modernity, 1860-2000

Author: Nicholas Daly

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9780521833929

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 161

View: 2396

Industrial modernity takes it as self-evident that there is a difference between people and machines, but the corollary of this has been a recurring fantasy about the erasure of that difference. The central scenario in this fantasy is the crash, sometimes literal, sometimes metaphorical. Nicholas Daly considers the way human/machine encounters have been imagined from the 1860s on, arguing that such scenes dramatize the modernization of subjectivity. This book will be of interest to scholars of moderinism, literature and film.
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Questions of Modernity

Author: Timothy Mitchell

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 9780816631339

Category: Social Science

Page: 229

View: 4084

Modernity has always laid claim to universal certainty--which meant assigning a different and lesser significance to anything deemed purely local, non-Western, or lacking a universal expression. This book makes those very non-Western, non-universal elements the tools for fashioning a more complex, rigorous, and multifaceted understanding of how the modern comes about. Focusing on the making of modernity outside the West, eight leading anthropologists, historians, and political theorists explore the production of new forms of politics, sensibility, temporality, and selfhood in locations ranging from nineteenth-century Bengal to contemporary Morocco. Topics include the therapeutics of colonial medical practice, the multiple registers of popular film, television serials and their audiences, psychiatrists and their patients, the iconic figure of the young widow, and the emergence of new political forms beyond the grasp of civil society.
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Melodramatic Voices: Understanding Music Drama

Understanding Music Drama

Author: Professor Sarah Hibberd

Publisher: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.

ISBN: 1409494764

Category: Music

Page: 314

View: 3275

The genre of mélodrame à grand spectacle that emerged in the boulevard theatres of Paris in the 1790s - and which was quickly exported abroad - expressed the moral struggle between good and evil through a drama of heightened emotions. Physical gesture, mise en scène and music were as important in communicating meaning and passion as spoken dialogue. The premise of this volume is the idea that the melodramatic aesthetic is central to our understanding of nineteenth-century music drama, broadly defined as spoken plays with music, operas and other hybrid genres that combine music with text and/or image. This relationship is examined closely, and its evolution in the twentieth century in selected operas, musicals and films is understood as an extension of this nineteenth-century aesthetic. The book therefore develops our understanding of opera in the context of melodrama's broader influence on musical culture during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This book will appeal to those interested in film studies, drama, theatre and modern languages as well as music and opera.
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Sentimental Fabulations, Contemporary Chinese Films

Attachment in the Age of Global Visibility

Author: Rey Chow

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231508190

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 304

View: 1924

What is the sentimental? How can we understand it by way of the visual and narrative modes of signification specific to cinema and through the manners of social interaction and collective imagining specific to a particular culture in transition? What can the sentimental tell us about the precarious foundations of human coexistence in this age of globalization? Rey Chow explores these questions through nine contemporary Chinese directors (Chen Kaige, Wong Kar-wai, Zhang Yimou, Ann Hui, Peter Chan, Wayne Wang, Ang Lee, Li Yang, and Tsai Ming-liang) whose accomplishments have become historic events in world cinema. Approaching their works from multiple perspectives, including the question of origins, nostalgia, the everyday, feminine "psychic interiority," commodification, biopolitics, migration, education, homosexuality, kinship, and incest, and concluding with an account of the Chinese films' epistemic affinity with the Hollywood blockbuster Brokeback Mountain, Chow proposes that the sentimental is a discursive constellation traversing affect, time, identity, and social mores, a constellation whose contours tends to morph under different historical circumstances and in different genres and media. In contemporary Chinese films, she argues, the sentimental consistently takes the form not of revolution but of compromise, not of radical departure but of moderation, endurance, and accommodation. By naming these films sentimental fabulations screen artifacts of cultural becoming with irreducible aesthetic, conceptual, and speculative logics of their own Chow presents Chinese cinema first and foremost as an invitation to the pleasures and challenges of critical thinking.
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Media Worlds

Anthropology on New Terrain

Author: Faye D. Ginsburg,Lila Abu-Lughod,Brian Larkin

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520928164

Category: Social Science

Page: 429

View: 696

This groundbreaking volume showcases the exciting work emerging from the ethnography of media, a burgeoning new area in anthropology that expands both social theory and ethnographic fieldwork to examine the way media—film, television, video—are used in societies around the globe, often in places that have been off the map of conventional media studies. The contributors, key figures in this new field, cover topics ranging from indigenous media projects around the world to the unexpected effects of state control of media to the local impact of film and television as they travel transnationally. Their essays, mostly new work produced for this volume, bring provocative new theoretical perspectives grounded in cross-cultural ethnographic realities to the study of media.
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Ford Madox Ford and the Misfit Moderns

Edwardian Fiction and the First World War

Author: R. Hawkes

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137283432

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 196

View: 5678

Ford Madox Ford is a major modernist writer, yet many of his works do not conform to our assumptions about modernism. Examining ways in which he, alongside other 'misfit moderns', undermines 'stabilities' we expect from novels and memoirs, this book poses questions about the nature of narrative and the distinction between modernism and modernity.
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Sensational Subjects

The Dramatization of Experience in the Modern World

Author: John Jervis

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 1472535642

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 224

View: 527

Under what conditions does 'sensation' become 'sensational'? In the early nineteenth century murder was a staple of the sensationalizing popular press and gruesome descriptions were deployed to make a direct impact on the sensations of the reader. By the end of the century, public concern with the thrills, spills, and shocks of modern life was increasingly articulated in the language of sensation. Media sensationalism contributed to this process and magnified its impact, just as sensation was, in turn, taken up by literature, art and film. In the contemporary world the dramatization of these experiences in an era of media panics over terrorism and paedophilia has taken an overtly melodramatic form, in which battles of good and evil play out across the landscapes of our lives. Sensational Subjects develops an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to exploring these themes, their impact and their implications for understanding the modern world. A companion volume, Sympathetic Sentiments: Affect, Emotion and Spectacle in the Modern World is published simultaneously by Bloomsbury.
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Cinema, Transnationalism, and Colonial India

Entertaining the Raj

Author: Babli Sinha

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 113676500X

Category: History

Page: 158

View: 6183

Through the lens of cinema, this book explores the ways in which the United States, Britain and India impacted each other politically, culturally and ideologically. It argues that American films of the 1920s posited alternative notions of whiteness and the West to that of Britain, which stood for democracy and social mobility even at a time of virulent racism. The book examines the impact that the American cinema has on Indian filmmakers of the period, who were integrating its conventions with indigenous artistic traditions to articulate an Indian modernity. It considers the way American films in the 1920s presented an orientalist fantasy of Asia, which occluded the harsh realities of anti-Asian sentiment and legislation in the period as well as the exciting engagement of anti-imperial activists who sought to use the United States as the base of a transnational network. The book goes on to analyse the American ‘empire films’ of the 1930s, which adapted British narratives of empire to represent the United States as a new global paradigm. Presenting close readings of films, literature and art from the era, the book engages cinema studies with theories of post-colonialism and transnationalism, and provides a novel approach to the study of Indian cinema.
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Electric Dreamland

Amusement Parks, Movies, and American Modernity

Author: Lauren Rabinovitz

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231527217

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 256

View: 579

Amusement parks were the playgrounds of the working class in the early twentieth century, combining numerous, mechanically-based spectacles into one unique, modern cultural phenomenon. Lauren Rabinovitz describes the urban modernity engendered by these parks and their media, encouraging ordinary individuals to sense, interpret, and embody a burgeoning national identity. As industrialization, urbanization, and immigration upended society, amusement parks tempered the shocks of racial, ethnic, and cultural conflict while shrinking the distinctions between gender and class. Following the rise of American parks from 1896 to 1918, Rabinovitz seizes on a simultaneous increase in cinema and spectacle audiences and connects both to the success of leisure activities in stabilizing society. Critics of the time often condemned parks and movies for inciting moral decline, yet in fact they fostered women's independence, racial uplift, and assimilation. The rhythmic, mechanical movements of spectacle also conditioned audiences to process multiple stimuli. Featuring illustrations from private collections and accounts from unaccessed archives, Electric Dreamland joins film and historical analyses in a rare portrait of mass entertainment and the modern eye.
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Dying Swans and Madmen

Ballet, the Body, and Narrative Cinema

Author: Adrienne L. McLean

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 081354467X

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 320

View: 7150

From mid-twentieth-century films such as Grand Hotel, Waterloo Bridge, and The Red Shoes to recent box-office hits including Billy Elliot, Save the Last Dance, and The Company, ballet has found its way, time and again, onto the silver screen and into the hearts of many otherwise unlikely audiences. In Dying Swans and Madmen, Adrienne L. McLean explores the curious pairing of classical and contemporary, art and entertainment, high culture and popular culture to reveal the ambivalent place that this art form occupies in American life. Drawing on examples that range from musicals to tragic melodramas, she shows how commercial films have produced an image of ballet and its artists that is associated both with joy, fulfillment, fame, and power and with sexual and mental perversity, melancholy, and death. Although ballet is still received by many with a lack of interest or outright suspicion, McLean argues that these attitudes as well as ballet's popularity and its acceptability as a way of life and a profession have often depended on what audiences first learned about it from the movies.
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A Companion to Thomas Hardy

Author: Keith Wilson

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1405156686

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 488

View: 8655

Through original essays from a distinguished team of international scholars and Hardy specialists, A Companion to Thomas Hardy provides a unique, one–volume resource, which encompasses all aspects of Hardy′s major novels, short stories, and poetry Informed by the latest in scholarly, critical, and theoretical debates from some of the world′s leading Hardy scholars Reveals groundbreaking insights through examinations of Hardy s major novels, short stories, poetry, and drama Explores Hardy′s work in the context of the major intellectual and socio–cultural currents of his time and assesses his legacy for subsequent writers
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Blasted Literature

Author: Deaglan O Donghaile

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

ISBN: 0748687696

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 272

View: 8549

By connecting Fenian and anarchist violence found in popular fiction from the 1880s to the early 1900s with the avant-garde writing of British modernism, Deaglan O Donghaile demonstrates that Victorian popular fiction and modernism were directly influence
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What Would Jesus Read?

Popular Religious Books and Everyday Life in Twentieth-Century America

Author: Erin A. Smith

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 1469621339

Category: Religion

Page: 410

View: 570

Since the late nineteenth century, religiously themed books in America have been commercially popular yet scorned by critics. Working at the intersection of literary history, lived religion, and consumer culture, Erin A. Smith considers the largely unexplored world of popular religious books, examining the apparent tension between economic and religious imperatives for authors, publishers, and readers. Smith argues that this literature served as a form of extra-ecclesiastical ministry and credits the popularity and longevity of religious books to their day-to-day usefulness rather than their theological correctness or aesthetic quality. Drawing on publishers' records, letters by readers to authors, promotional materials, and interviews with contemporary religious-reading groups, Smith offers a comprehensive study that finds surprising overlap across the religious spectrum--Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish, liberal and conservative. Smith tells the story of how authors, publishers, and readers reconciled these books' dual function as best-selling consumer goods and spiritually edifying literature. What Would Jesus Read? will be of interest to literary and cultural historians, students in the field of print culture, and scholars of religious studies.
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Cinematic Appeals

The Experience of New Movie Technologies

Author: Ariel Rogers

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231535783

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 352

View: 8622

Cinematic Appeals follows the effect of technological innovation on the cinema experience, specifically the introduction of widescreen and stereoscopic 3D systems in the 1950s, the rise of digital cinema in the 1990s, and the transition to digital 3D since 2005. Widescreen cinema promised to draw the viewer into the world of the screen, enabling larger-than-life close-ups of already larger-than-life actors. This technology fostered the illusion of physically entering a film, enhancing the semblance of realism. Alternatively, the digital era was less concerned with the viewer's physical response and more with information flow, awe, and the reevaluation of spatiality and embodiment. This study ultimately shows how cinematic technology and the human experience shape and respond to each other over time.
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Imagining Human Rights in Twenty-First Century Theater

Global Perspectives

Author: F. Becker,P. Hernández,B. Werth

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 113702710X

Category: History

Page: 284

View: 6828

There is extraordinary diversity, depth, and complexity in the encounter between theatre, performance, and human rights. Through an examination of a rich repertoire of plays and performance practices from and about countries across six continents, the contributors open the way toward understanding the character and significance of this encounter.
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Film and Stereotype

A Challenge for Cinema and Theory

Author: Jörg Schweinitz

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231525214

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 396

View: 9812

Since the early days of film, critics and theorists have contested the value of formula, cliché, conventional imagery, and recurring narrative patterns of reduced complexity in cinema. Whether it's the high-noon showdown or the last-minute rescue, a lonely woman standing in the window or two lovers saying goodbye in the rain, many films rely on scenes of stereotype, and audiences have come to expect them. Outlining a comprehensive theory of film stereotype, a device as functionally important as it is problematic to a film's narrative, Jörg Schweinitz constructs a fascinating though overlooked critical history from the 1920s to today. Drawing on theories of stereotype in linguistics, literary analysis, art history, and psychology, Schweinitz identifies the major facets of film stereotype and articulates the positions of theorists in response to the challenges posed by stereotype. He reviews the writing of Susan Sontag, Roland Barthes, Theodor W. Adorno, Rudolf Arnheim, Robert Musil, Béla Balázs, Hugo Münsterberg, and Edgar Morin, and he revives the work of less-prominent writers, such as René Fülöp-Miller and Gilbert Cohen-Séat, tracing the evolution of the discourse into a postmodern celebration of the device. Through detailed readings of specific films, Schweinitz also maps the development of models for adapting and reflecting stereotype, from early irony (Alexander Granowski) and conscious rejection (Robert Rossellini) to critical deconstruction (Robert Altman in the 1970s) and celebratory transfiguration (Sergio Leone and the Coen brothers). Altogether a provocative spectacle, Schweinitz's history reveals the role of film stereotype in shaping processes of communication and recognition, as well as its function in growing media competence in audiences beyond cinema.
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African Film and Literature

Adapting Violence to the Screen

Author: Lindiwe Dovey

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 0231519389

Category: Social Science

Page: 384

View: 5166

Analyzing a range of South African and West African films inspired by African and non-African literature, Lindiwe Dovey identifies a specific trend in contemporary African filmmaking-one in which filmmakers are using the embodied audiovisual medium of film to offer a critique of physical and psychological violence. Against a detailed history of the medium's savage introduction and exploitation by colonial powers in two very different African contexts, Dovey examines the complex ways in which African filmmakers are preserving, mediating, and critiquing their own cultures while seeking a united vision of the future. More than merely representing socio-cultural realities in Africa, these films engage with issues of colonialism and postcolonialism, "updating" both the history and the literature they adapt to address contemporary audiences in Africa and elsewhere. Through this deliberate and radical re-historicization of texts and realities, Dovey argues that African filmmakers have developed a method of filmmaking that is altogether distinct from European and American forms of adaptation.
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Film Sequels

Author: Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

ISBN: 0748689478

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 176

View: 7463

A study of sequel production within recent Hollywood and beyond in terms of its industrial, cultural and global implications.
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Cinema Taiwan

Politics, Popularity and State of the Arts

Author: Darrell William Davis,Ru-shou Robert Chen

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1134125828

Category: Art

Page: 256

View: 778

Following the recent success of Taiwanese film directors, such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Ang Lee and Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwanese film is raising its profile in contemporary cinema. This collection presents an exciting and ambitious foray into the cultural politics of contemporary Taiwan film that goes beyond the auterist mode, the nation-state argument and vestiges of the New Cinema. Cinema Taiwan considers the complex problems of popularity, conflicts between transnational capital and local practice, non-fiction and independent filmmaking as emerging modes of address, and new possibilities of forging vibrant film cultures embedded in national (identity) politics, gender/sexuality and community activism. Insightful and challenging, the essays in this collection will attract attention to a globally significant field of cultural production and will appeal to readers from the areas of film studies, cultural studies and Chinese culture and society.
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