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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines melodrama in the United States during the early twentieth century. It argues that the emphasis on realism in the history of American drama has overshadowed the significance of melodrama for modern theatergoers. The essay analyzes the reception of melodrama among working-class as well as middle-class audiences, focusing particularly on plays by David Belasco and William Gillette. Overall, the essay locates the meaning of American melodrama in terms of theatrical performance rather than in the dramatic text.

Keywords: American melodrama, realism, modern drama, emotive theater, working-class audiences, David Belasco, William Gillette

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