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date: 30 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This essay examines the use of American drama as a vehicle of social reform during the nineteenth century. It analyzes plays that used melodrama as a mode of reformist presentation to encourage audience identification with a number of issues such as abolition and temperance and describes how reformist melodrama like The Drunkard articulated a discourse of masculine empowerment. This essay also considers the investment of corporate interests in nineteenth-century theatre.

Keywords: American drama, social reform, reformist melodrama, abolition, temperance, The Drunkard, masculine empowerment, corporate interests

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