In this lucid and fascinating book, Peter Brooks argues that melodrama is a crucial mode of expression in modern literature. After studying stage melodrama as a dominant popular form in the nineteenth century, he moves on to Balzac and Henry James to show how these "realist" novelists created fiction using the rhetoric and excess of melodrama - in particular its secularized conflicts of good and evil, salvation and damnation. The Melodramatic Imagination has become a classic work for understanding theater, fiction, and film.
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