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The Operatic and the Everyday in Postwar Italian Film Melodrama$
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Louis Bayman

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780748656424

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748656424.001.0001

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Introduction: Why Melodrama?

Introduction: Why Melodrama?

(p.1) Introduction: Why Melodrama?
The Operatic and the Everyday in Postwar Italian Film Melodrama

Louis Bayman

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter lays out an analysis of its topic as multi-faceted. It sets out the post-war period as a special moment of Italian melodrama’s greatest success, mentions the intertwining of understandings of ‘Italian’ and of ‘melodramatic’, and defines melodrama, amidst a history of pathos and tragic arts, through the representation of misery occurring within a definite ordinariness. It discusses the previous works on Italian melodrama and establishes its distinctiveness as offering a sustained investigation into the aesthetic functions of popular culture. It summarises the subsequent chapters and ends with the book’s working hypothesis, that melodrama acts as a border, the line at which excess pulls with restriction, formal expressivity with representation, and art with reality.

Keywords:   Italian character, Domestic heritage, Ordinariness, Pathos

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