Sarah Heinz

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20112012 Forum on Adaptations

Sarah Heinz

Other Honors: Charles W. Burr Book Prize 

CAS, 2012

Birthing a Monster: The Invention of Melodrama in the Romantic Period

Critics denounced melodrama – a genre of theatre invented during the Romantic period – as further proof of the degradation of English theatre, English culture and of the English people in general. Yet this lowly plebian genre became the most popular form of theatre in the 19th Century. Why did melodrama reach such heights of popularity? How important was melodrama's adaptive invention to its popularity? These questions and more force us to confront a genre that transformed the world.