Title Page, Series Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

Contents

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pp. vii-x

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Introduction. Making Sense: The Moral and Affective Appeals of Melodrama

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pp. 1-23

On September 11 of each year, Americans observe the offi cially designated occasion of Patriot Day. Not to be confused with Patriot’s Day, which marks the Battle of Lexington and Concord and the “shot heard ’round the world,” Patriot Day was proclaimed by President George W. Bush, in accordance...

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1. A Rough Ride: Cinema, War, and the Strenuous Life

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pp. 24-58

In the early moving picture Roosevelt’s Rough Riders (AMB 1898), a mounted cavalry unit charges toward the camera, Th eodore Roosevelt at the fore (fi g. 1). As the riders advance, they loom larger in the frame, bearing down upon the spectator with speed and force, much like the oncoming...

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2. Manifest Destiny in Action: Sensational Melodrama and the Advent of the Western

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pp. 59-100

In the photograph, the painter stands erect and intent, brush poised before the canvas. He wears a coat and derby hat, a sharp nose and well-groomed mustache visible beneath its brim. He stands on the rooft op of an apartment building, along which a line of chimneys runs into the distance...

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3. Western Weepies: The Power of Pathos in the Cold War Western

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pp. 101-141

Th e conjunction of onscreen action with moral and masculine authority, so endlessly iterated in the B Westerns of the 1930s and early 1940s, begins to fall apart aft er World War II. Breaking with the cinematic lineage of the charge, the aff ective address of the genre shift s from the visceral and moral...

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4. The Subject of Imperiled Privilege: Victimization and Violence in Late-Century Action Cinema

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pp. 142-194

Th e action cinema of the late twentieth century would demonstrate both the intensifi cation and the diff usion of the melodramatic pleasures of cinematic violence, drawing upon earlier traditions of thrilling, morally authorized action and pathetic spectacles of suff ering, while wedding these to...

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Epilogue. To Be Real: Virtual Violence in the Twenty-First Century

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pp. 195-208

In the days and weeks aft er 9/11—stretching into months and years—the dead speech of cliché seemed to surface with considerable efficacy: the cowboy rhetoric, rehearsing violent scenarios from a cultural imagination of the West; the Manichean structures of good and evil; the promise and...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 209-212

In the undertaking of this project, I have incurred many debts, an adequate accounting of which is impossible to give. But I am deeply appreciative of the wealth of folks who have nurtured this work, and me in it, in meaningful and myriad ways. Accepting the necessarily partial nature of...

Notes

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pp. 213-252

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 253-262

Index

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pp. 263-274

About the Author

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pp. 275-276