In Europe, readers' reaction to the story line greatly influenced
the writers of the serialized novels. Authors would make modifications
to the next written installments tailored to the public's desire
(Ortiz, 1991). This exchange allowed the serials to become fuelled
with contemporary life, sometimes blurring the borders between fiction
and life. The combination of these elements is also a vital component
in the telenovela narrative and its success (Martín-Barbero,
In the late 1800’s in the United States and in England, readers
of the serialized novels actively pursued communication with fellow
readers to discuss what would happen next. Many publications offered
a space for readers to convey their feelings on the developing plot.
This regular discussion forum was a precursor to contemporary online
discussions of soap operas and telenovelas (Museum of Television
and Radio, 1997).
Translated versions of European serials reached Latin American newspapers
around the same time. However, local flavor was added to the papers
in Argentina with the publishing of gaucho stories written by Eduardo
Gutiérrez in 1870 (Rivera, 1968). Even though the majority
of the publications of serialized novels in Brazil were translations,
exceptions occurred, such as the publication of “O Guarani"
by José de Alencar in 1857. According to Ortiz (1991), the
Brazilian authors did not write the novels in installments. The
story was apparently written beforehand and then published in its
serialized form. At that time, the publications were scarce, making
it difficult for Brazilian writers to publish their books. Therefore,
they found newspapers to be an important vehicle to reach the readers.
The serials though, did not enjoy the same popularity as in Europe,
since the majority of the population in Brazil was illiterate.