Gothic Melodrama and the Aesthetic of Silence in Thomas Holcroft‘s A Tale of Mystery
Diego Saglia

Focusing on melodrama and on Thomas Holcroft‘s exemplary A Tale of Mystery (1802) in particular, this essay proposes a reinterpretation of Gothic drama and theatre as constitutively characterized by interruptions of comprehension. The tribulations of its persecuted protagonist Francisco are read in the context of the court trial of a real-life Francisco, who lived in London in 1802 and was one of the ‘stars’ in contemporary newspaper reports from the Old Bailey. Combining different generic and tonal modes, Romantic-period Gothic melodrama capitalized on explicitness and hyperbole, as well as on materializations of ethics and sentiment through their overt exhibition on stage or ‘ostension’. At the same time, it emphasized absence, silence, dematerialization and dissolution. With its continuously deferred revelations,and ostensions of the unsaid, A Tale of Mystery is a significant investment in an aesthetic of the unsaid that is central to a definition of Gothic on stage.

Gothic Studies
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Gothic, in a sense, has always been 'queer'. This book illustrates the rich critical complexity which is involved in reading texts through queer theories. It provides a queer reading of such early Gothic romances as William Beckford's Vathek, Matthew Gregory Lewis's The Monk, and Charles Maturin's Melmoth the Wanderer. Building upon critical trend of desire between men, the book examines Frankenstein's engagement with sexual rhetoric in the early nineteenth century. It explores some ways in which the signifying practices of queerness are written into the language and, therefore, the signifying practices of Gothic fiction. Teleny's apparently medicalised representation of homosexual erotic love contains some strikingly Gothic elements. The book examines how the courtroom drama of the E. M. Forster's A Passage to India focuses on the monstrous possibility of miscegenation, an Indian accused of raping an Englishwoman. Antonia White's Frost in May can be contextualised to the concept of the 'lesbian Gothic', which helpfully illuminates the representation of adolescent female subjectivity and sexuality. Same-sex desire is represented indirectly through sensuous descriptions of the female body and intertextual allusions to other erotic texts. The book considers how the vampire has become an ambivalent emblem of gay sexuality in late twentieth-century Gothic fiction by examining Interview with the Vampire and Lost Souls. The understanding of the Gothic and queer theory in a pop video is achieved by considering how Michael Jackson's use of the Gothic in Thriller and Ghosts queers the temporality of childhood.

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Editor: Gregory Vargo

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.

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Author: Steve Blandford

This is the first book-length study of one of the most significant of all British television writers, Jimmy McGovern. The book provides comprehensive coverage of all his work for television including early writing on Brookside, major documentary dramas such as Hillsborough and Sunday and more recent series such as The Street and Accused.

Whilst the book is firmly focused on McGovern’s own work, the range of his output over the period in which he has been working also provides something of an overview of the radical changes in television drama commissioning that have taken place during this time. Without compromising his deeply-held convictions McGovern has managed to adapt to an ever changing environment, often using his position as a sought-after writer to defy industry trends.

The book also challenges the notion of McGovern as an uncomplicated social realist in stylistic terms. Looking particularly at his later work, a case is made for McGovern employing a greater range of narrative approaches, albeit subtly and within boundaries that allow him to continue to write for large popular audiences.

Finally it is worth pointing to the book’s examination of McGovern’s role in recent years as a mentor to new voices, frequently acting as a creative producer on series that he part-writes and part brings through different less-experienced names.

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Point of view and communication
James Zborowski

alike as residing at the opposite pole of what we might term a spectrum of distance from his fellow classical Hollywood filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, directed by John Ford, who has been championed by Jean-Marie Straub and Gilberto Perez as ‘the most Brechtian of all filmmakers’.7 It is in fact Anatomy of a Murder that I place in most sustained dialogue with Brecht, offering the film’s courtroom drama as a metacritical reflection upon criticism, and upon the role that the point of view adopted during the act of sustained aesthetic

in Classical Hollywood cinema
Open Access (free)
Civil rites of passage
Sharon Monteith

progress’. 1 Before this, movies with plots incorporating civil rights struggles could turn up in any popular genre from westerns to courtroom dramas, and even comedies. Slowly a small but distinct body of films is developing in which Movement successes are celebrated and strategies and losses interrogated – Freedom Song (2000), Boycott (2001) and The Rosa Parks Story (2002

in Memory and popular film
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Queering the Gothic
William Hughes and Andrew Smith

, imperial collapse, and the queering of Adela Quested in E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India ’ Ardel Thomas (Chapter 6) explores how Forster’s 1924 novel develops images of queer identities through debates about identity and race which are familiar from the Gothic. Thomas examines how the courtroom drama of the novel focuses on the monstrous possibility of miscegenation (an Indian accused of raping an

in Queering the Gothic
Robin Nelson

and self-referential approaches to narrative have emerged. Ally McBeal, for example, has been dubbed a “dramedy” in the light of its mix of comedy and tragedy or, more precisely, its debt to sitcom, romance, courtroom drama and MTV.11 The fictional world of the series in which viewers are invited to believe is the law firm, Fish & Cage, where Ally is employed. Like the other lawyers, Ally takes on cases and functions as an advocate in the courtroom. Though the cases are frequently unusual, not to say bizarre, the given of the series is that of a legal and courtroom

in State of play
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Filming in the 1950s and 60s
Brian Mcfarlane

flourish, but he also made a couple of cheerful minor musicals (Live It Up, 1963 and Be My Guest, 1965) and two comedies (The Ugly Duckling, 1959 and Make Mine a Million, 1959). The co-features also include a drama of postwar malaise, a courtroom drama, a kidnap thriller and a Gothic horror piece. If melodrama is the continuing strain through most of Comfort’s work, it needs to be said that he was

in Lance Comfort
Land and Freedom/Tierra y Libertad
David Archibald

then they’ve got to talk about something other than film. So consequently they kind of hide their eyes from what’s in front of them and find some kind of peripheral subject to discuss. If you spend all your time in semiological disputes, then you can’t see anything else. 10 Allen, who worked regularly on popular television programmes such as Coronation Street and the courtroom drama Crown Court (ITV, 1972–84), also argues for the prioritisation of content over form when he states that ‘it is the content that any serious writer should concern himself with

in The war that won't die