gentlemanly melodrama



  • A type of 19th-century melodrama designed to appealto a sophisticated audience; it was intended to encourage the upperclasses to return to the English theater. Until around 1840, melodramawas the favourite fare for the less well-educated playgoers. Gentlemanlymelodrama was introduced by Sheridan Knowles (1784 - 1862) andwas firmly established by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton (1803 - 73).William Macready, who had starred in some of Knowles's plays,encouraged the genre while managing Covent Garden and Drury Lane.He produced Bulwer-Lytton's works and even suggested material forsuch plays as The Lady of Lyons (1838).