Suggested Reading

Below is a list of useful works on melodrama. They are divided into different sections, though these do of course overlap. It’s a work in progress, so do email me at if you have any suggestions as to other references to add.



Single-authored books

Barefoot,   Guy. Gaslight Melodrama: From Victorian London to 1940s Hollywood. New York: Continuum, 2001.

Brooks, Peter. The  Melodramatic Imagination: Balzac, Henry James, Melodrama, and the Mode of  Excess. Yale University   Press, 1995.

Kaplan,   E. Ann. Motherhood and Representation: the Mother in Popular Culture and Melodrama. London; New York: Routledge, 1992.

Nikolopoulou, Anastasia. Melodrama: The Cultural Emergence of a Genre. Palgrave Macmillan, 1999.


Edited books

Bratton,  Jacky, Jim Cook, Christine Gledhill, eds. Melodrama: Stage, Picture,   Screen.  London: British Film Institute, 1994.





Co-authored books

Mercer, John and Martin Shingler. Melodrama : Genre, Style, Sensibility. London ; New York : Wallflower, 2004.

Edited books

Gledhill, Christine, ed. Home is Where the Heart is: Studies in Melodrama and the Woman’s Film. London: BFI Pub., 1987.


“Melodrama.”   Film Criticism. 9(2). 1984-1985 Winter.

“Melodrama.”   Wide Angle Vol IV nr 2 (1980); p 4-51.




Single-authored books

Byars,  Jackie. All that Hollywood Allows:   Re-reading gender in 1950s Melodrama. Chapel Hill: University of North   Carolina Press, 1991.

Cavell,  Stanley. Contesting Tears: the Hollywood  Melodrama of the Unknown Woman. Chicago: University of Chicago   Press, 1996.

Doane,   Mary Ann. The Desire to Desire : the Woman’s Film of the 1940s. Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press,  1987.

Lang,   Robert. American Film Melodrama: Griffith, Vidor, Minnelli. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton   University Press, 1989.

Singer, Ben. Melodrama and Modernity : Early Sensational Cinema and its Contexts. New York : Columbia University   Press, 2001.


Cook,  Pam. “Melodrama and the Women’s  Picture.” In: Screening the Past : Memory and Nostalgia in Cinema. London ; New York : Routledge, 2005.

Kaplan,  E. Ann. “Classical Hollywood Film and Melodrama.” In: The Oxford Guide to Film Studies, edited by John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson; pp: 272-82 Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press,  1998.

Neale,   Stephen. “Melodrama and the Woman’s  Film.” In: Genre and contemporary Hollywood, edited by Steve  Neale. London ; New York : Routledge, 2000.

Nowell-Smith,   G. “Genre Criticism. Minnelli and Melodrama.” In: Movies and Methods : an Anthology, edited by   Bill Nichols. Berkeley : University of California Press, 1976.

Singer,   Ben. “Female Power in the  Serial-queen Melodrama : the Etiology of an Anomaly.” In: Silent Film, edited by Richard Abel. New Brunswick, N.J. :   Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Williams,   Linda.  “Melodrama Revised.”   In: Refiguring American Film Genres: History and Theory, edited by Nick Browne. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.



Edited books

Aspinall, Sue, and Robert Murphy, eds. Gainsborough Melodrama. British  Film Institute, 1983.






Single-authored books

Sadlier, Darlene J., ed. Latin  American Melodrama: Passion, Pathos, and Entertainment. University of Illinois Press, 2009.

Edited books

Dissanayake,   Wimal, ed. Melodrama and Asian Cinema. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1993.

McHugh, Kathleen, and Nancy Abelmann, eds. South  Korean Golden Age Melodrama: Gender, Genre, and National Cinema. Wayne State   University Press, 2005.






Fuqua,   Joy Van. “‘Can You Feel It, Joe?’:   Male Melodrama and the Feeling Man.” Velvet Light Trap. 38:   28-38. 1996 Fall.

Lusted,   David. “Social Class and the  Western as Male Melodrama.” In: The Book of Westerns, edited by   Ian Cameron and Douglas Pye. New York: Continuum, 1996.

Lutz,   Tom. “Men’s Tears and the Roles of Melodrama.” In: Boys Don’t Cry?: Rethinking Narratives of  Masculinity and Emotion in the U.S., edited by Milette Shamir and  Jennifer Travis. pp: 185-204. New York : Columbia University Press, 2002.

Neale,  Steve. “Melo Talk: on the meaning and use of the term ‘melodrama’ in the American trade press.” Velvet  Light Trap no. 32 (Fall 1993); p 66-89.






Edited  books

Landy, Marcia, ed. Imitations of Life: a Reader on  Film & Television Melodrama. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1991.


Gledhill,   Christine. “Speculations on the  relationship between soap opera and melodrama.” Quarterly Review of   Film and Video Vol XIV nr 1-2 (July 1992); p 103-124.

Kuhn,   Annette. “Women’s Genres:   Melodrama, Soap Opera and Theory.” Screen, (1984) 25(1).



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