'Connie': Melodrama and Tory Socialism
This chapter will discuss the use of melodrama in creating a specific form of socialism: one based on the Tory narratives of duty, guidance and a harmonious relationship between the upper and lower social groups. In ‘Connie’ the characters who adhere to the ideology of Liberal capitalism are positioned as the melodramatic villains of the piece and it is these characters, rather than the traditional aristocratic group, who threaten and oppress the working-class Connie. Class position is presented as less important than the particular political narratives and the melodramatic villains are Connie’s Jewish employer and the upper-class Diana. Both place Connie under considerable pressure: the former to engage in sexual relations with him in exchange for financial reward and the continuation of her employment, the latter to separate her from Humphry and in the process making Connie homeless. Although Diana is a member of the gentry (Diana and Humphry’s father is the landowner, Squire Munro) her unsentimental business acumen and desire to increase her family’s wealth presents a sharp contrast to the Tory paternalism of the Squire and Humphry’s sense of honour and tradition. The publication of this serial within the pages of the Labour Elector will also be considered as the proprietor, Champion, and the editor at this period, Michael Maltman Barry, held Tory-socialist ideas. The chapter will consider the relevance of the serial to the periodical as a whole, the ambitions of Champion in the socialist movement, and some of the ways in which this unfinished piece may have been moving towards a conclusion.
Citation : Mutch, D. (2018) 'Connie': Melodrama and Tory Socialism. In: Lisa C. Robertson and Flore Janssen eds. Margaret Harkness Writing social engagement 1880–1921. Manchester. Manchester University Press.
ISBN : 9781526123503
Research Group : Centre for Textual Studies (CTS)
Research Institute : Institute of English
Peer Reviewed : Yes
- School of Humanities