[Ads-l] cliffhanger (UNCLASSIFIED)

Mullins, Bill CIV (US) william.d.mullins18.civ at MAIL.MIL
Wed Apr 13 19:19:42 UTC 2016


Joel, I believe you were investigating "The Perils of Pauline" and whether one of the episodes ended with a cliffhanger.  Confusing the investigation was a statement that extant prints may have been re-edited, so that they do not currently end with what was the original endings.

These contemporary reviews:



imply that the cliff scene was not originally at the end of episode six.  (Other episodes included cliff scenes, but this appears to be the one that is closest to a "cliffhanger".)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf Of Joel Berson
> Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 1:56 PM
> Subject: Re: cliffhanger (UNCLASSIFIED)
> ----
> Yes, a significant discovery.  When I was researching "cliffhanger" for a possible story, I did not find any scenes where there was a
> hero/heroine literally left hanging on a cliff.  There are plenty of earlier instances of leaving the reader in figurative suspense, but I found
> none of leaving the character in literal suspense.
> Did I mention at the time the peril -- but not cliffhanging -- in a news story in the 1736 New-York Gazette, published in two parts?  The first
> installment ends “The Capt.Dying------ [The Remainder of this Melancholy Relation will be continued, in our Next]” (brackets inoriginal).
> Joel

>       From: Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>  Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2016 2:21 PM
>  Subject: Re: [ADS-L] cliffhanger (UNCLASSIFIED)
> Other than the misleadingly ambiguous "is attributed to...Hardy's...novel,"
> this is a significant discovery.
> The scene (oops! I must mean "meme"!) presumably impressed the story's readers, and may frequently have been alluded to.
> The actual word "cliffhanger," however, still looks and sounds like a 20th C. journalistic creation - by someone who may never have heard
> of _A Pair of Blue Eyes_.
> JL
> On Wed, Apr 13, 2016 at 2:00 PM, Mullins, Bill CIV (US) < william.d.mullins18.civ at mail.mil> wrote:
> >
> > In 2014 there was some discussion of cliffhangers on the list.
> >
> > This:
> >
> > https://michaelzmuda.com/2015/11/
> >
> > Suggests that the original cliffhanger was Thomas Hardy's creation:
> >
> > "The term cliffhanger is attributed to Thomas Hardy’s serial novel A
> > Pair of Blue Eyes (1873), in which, at the end of chapter 21, Hardy
> > chose to leave his protagonist Henry Knight hanging off a cliff, while
> > waiting for Elfride Swancourt to help. As his grip weakens Swancourt
> > returns in chapter 22, taking off her clothes and making a rope of her
> > petticoats, pulling Knight to safety with them. Unable to conceal each
> > others’ feelings any longer, they embrace."


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