Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Brokeback Mountain$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Gary Needham

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780748633821

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633821.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 13 October 2019

A Pathetic State of Affairs: Brokeback Mountain and Melodrama

A Pathetic State of Affairs: Brokeback Mountain and Melodrama

Chapter:
(p.79) 3. A Pathetic State of Affairs: Brokeback Mountain and Melodrama
Source:
Brokeback Mountain
Author(s):

Gary Needham

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748633821.003.0004

This chapter analyses Brokeback Mountain's relationship to melodrama. Melodrama would seem to respond well to queer theory's recent turn to a politics of negative feeling. As this chapter argues, Brokeback Mountain's real power stems from the way it mobilises melodrama and queer negative feeling, which together produce an affective and emotionally queer film experience. Brokeback Mountain is all about pathos and the feelings of pity and powerlessness it cultivates for the spectator. Powerlessness, emotional vulnerability and a constant waiting are relentlessly underscored by the melodramatic structures of storytelling and create an experience of passivity and helplessness that tends to be overwhelming. The importance of Brokeback Mountain is that it refuses to portray homosexuality as anything but a difficult and emotive subject and melodrama is one means through which to do this. The politicisation of emotion and affect in relation to the closet and homophobia, disproportionate relations between past and present, character and spectator, are what make Brokeback Mountain meaningful as a queer melodrama.

Keywords:   Brokeback Mountain, melodrama, queer theory, homosexuality, closet, homophobia, powerlessness, negative feeling, emotion, affect

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.