WORLDS WITHOUT END by Museum of Television & Radio


The Art and History of the Soap Opera
Email this review


 Published as a companion to an exhibition at the Museum of Television and Radio's New York and Los Angeles sites, this very serious anthology attempts to explain the qualities that have given soap operas such longevity and persistent popularity. Simon's essay ``Serial Seduction'' offers a thumbnail history of the genre, tracing its form and contents back to the genius of Irna Phillips, who in 1930 launched her first of many soaps (among them the longest-running soap, The Guiding Light, which premiered on radio in 1937). Louise Spence, in ``Watching Daytime Soap Operas,'' and Jane Feuer, in ``Different Soaps for Different Folks,'' plumb the genre's hold on its considerable audience. And, for comic relief, three pieces by James Thurber, skewering the form's pretensions and singular strangeness, are included. A brief review of the major soaps concludes the volume. A browsable account of a ubiquitous but insufficiently studied part of modern American culture--one that Thurber labeled ``the story-coated advertising medium that either fascinates or distresses so many millions of people.'' (140 illustrations, 60 in color)

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8109-3997-5
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Abrams
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1997


FictionTHE YOUNG AND THE RUTHLESS by Victoria Rowell
by Victoria Rowell