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The Man of Mode (New Mermaids) Paperback – October 22, 2007


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About the Author

John Barnard is Professor Emeritus, University of Leeds.

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Product Details

  • Series: New Mermaids
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama; Revised edition (October 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713681934
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713681932
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,850 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wischmeyer on August 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Rather unexpectedly, I found The Man of Mode (1676) to be entertaining comedy. Although quite popular for several decades, it began falling out of favor in the 1730s. A 1965 revival in Yorkshire was the first known production since 1793. For its humor George Etherege's play offers witty confrontations; the plot itself is not highly structured and the ending is uncertain.

Through his easy wit and good nature, George Etherege, himself of more modest background, gained court favor during the Restoration period. He became a close associate of boisterous, young courtiers, wits, and rakes, especially the Earl of Rochester, Sir Charles Sedley, and the Duke of Buckingham. Playgoers apparently assumed that Etherege modeled his key characters upon these rakish aristocrats, although there was never agreement on their exact identity.

The play begins as Mr. Dorimant, perhaps best described as an impulsive libertine with a good nature, is determining how to abandon his current mistress, Mrs. Loveit, without compromising his plans to gain the favors of her close friend, Bellinda. His strategy involves placing Mrs. Loveit in a situation that suggests that she has betrayed him for the attention of a recent arrival from France, a Sir Fopling Flutter. Complicating matters, a newcomer - a young, attractive, witty (and financially secure) woman named Harriet - exercises undue influence on Dorimant. Most inappropriately, Dorimant is falling in love.

The Man of Mode is indeed a comedy of manners, but as is often the case with this genre there is a more serious undertone. Dorimant freely professes that the extravagant words and promises made in pursuit of love are no more meaningful than threats made in anger.
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