Mediating Melodrama: Staging Sergeant Cuff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


When Sergeant Cuff stepped off the page and onto the stage of the Olympic Theatre in Wilkie Collins’s 1877 adaptation of his own wildly successful novel, The Moonstone, he both joined the earliest ranks of the British stage detective and entered the world of melodrama. Though we might expect the rational figure of a detective such as Sergeant Cuff to be incompatible with the emotional excess of melodrama, in this article I show that such an assumption oversimplifies his relationship to melodramatic emotion and overlooks the surprising compatibility of the detective with melodrama’s epistemological and moral investments. I argue that in distinct contrast to the ambiguity and multiplicity instilled by the novel, Cuff allows for the clear resolution expected on the melodramatic stage, proving himself an agent of and for melodramatic style and substance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-17
JournalNineteenth Century Theatre and Film
Issue number1
Early online date12 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Mediating Melodrama: Staging Sergeant Cuff'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this