Worlds Without End: The Art and History of the Soap Opera

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9780810939974: Worlds Without End: The Art and History of the Soap Opera
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A provocative look into what makes soap operas so addictive and why they have one of the largest audiences includes cast photos spanning the decades, behind-the-scenes production shots, interviews with soap creators, and other entertaining facts and details. Lit Guild & Doubleday.

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Review:

Perhaps when a museum dedicates a three-month exhibit to the subject of soap operas, it's time to hang up our cultural hats and admit that we now occupy a world of overstimulated philistines. With that confession happily concluded, what could we want more than this gorgeous volume documenting the Museum of Television & Radio's soap opera show. Exhaustively chronicling the life of the soap opera, Worlds Without End covers the form from its roots in radio up to the late '90s. It not only reviews the histories of every soap series ever to air (up through late 1996), but also provides a general historical overview of the changes in subject matter, racial casting, and filming styles of the genre as a whole.

From Kirkus Reviews:

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) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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