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Ebook The Man of Mode (New Mermaids) by George Etherege read! Book Title: The Man of Mode (New Mermaids)
The author of the book: George Etherege
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Reader ratings: 6.8
Edition: Methuen Drama
Date of issue: June 13th 2014
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ISBN 13: No data
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 22.19 MB

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Reread: Aug-2012

With the first re-reading of this play along with the reading of William Wycherley’s The Country Wife before this, I am in the process of discovering the rich literary quality associated with the Restoration Theatre in the Great Britain. With striking similarities between the two plays on the level of plot lines, characterisation and milieu, my understanding of this genre in British Literature has been greatly enhanced, of which I shall talk about in the current review.

Firstly, both Wycherley and Etherage come up with dramatic prose and not the much popular dramatic verse of the bygone Elizabethan age. What is more interesting to note is that this prose that they make use of is more natural or colloquial rather than that which is meant for mere affectation, the manner in which it was sometimes use in the earlier periods of English literary history.

Next, the issue of identity surly can be studied by the emphasis that the age through its creative writers and philosophers placed on all the factors that could collectively be referred to as “good breading”. Perhaps this included, possession of a certain kind of “knowledge”; the art of presenting this knowledge among others in the society; the art of dressing up well but at the same time being able to keep oneself from crossing the line over towards foppery; the art of entertaining the opposite sex and so on. Other than this the issue of identity can also be studied in the way that characters are often encountered to complain of the changing or rather deteriorating trend in some or all the factors mentioned above. This perhaps could be see as part of either adhering strictly or breaking free entirely and in some cases adapting oneself into accepting some and rejecting some other qualities of both the past and the contemporary age.

Re-reading and visualising this play also make other things clear about the “long Eighteenth Century”. That the value attributed to morality and indigenous fashion was certainly not much becomes obvious. The drama reflects the former in the way each character tries to meet his or her own ends at the cost of others’ happiness or even well-being. The latter is evident in the fact that a lot of focus is seen to have been placed on fashion, not that, however, which had its origin in the native English society but that of France. Especially in The Man of Mode we find so many allusions to French manners, French music and dance, French dressing, French writers, French - the language, etc. (which culminates aptly in the creation of a character itself by Etherage, in addition to the rationale behind two titles of the play) that it makes the influence of the imported fashion on the English society very obvious.

Now, talking about what struck very obviously to me on the personal level has been something that I have observed even a few days/weeks back while reading Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and also Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. It is the quality in works of literature that with the test of time are given the status of “classics”. This quality that I am talking about is something inherent in these classics that makes a reader, who is not in the same spacio-temporal plane with the author of these works, come very close, in fact so close to the world that these classics create that only after one comes out of the magically charming experience of being among the characters of these work, one is literally made to experience the sense of awe as to how the author could have thought something which we as modern readers think is possible to "create mentally" only in this age that we are living in and not back then in George Etherage’s or Thomas Hardy’s or Saint-Exupery’s time.

Even though it was my second reading of the play, the complexity of its plot kept me intrigued till the end. Superabundance of wit is clearly visible in the various scenes where the characters engage in long bouts of repartee. In fact, the sheer number of times the word “wit” is encounter, for instance, in the two restoration comedies mentioned above, makes it evident that that age was obsessed with this concept. This is especially true in context of the male members of the English society of that time, though in no way, the dramas suggests, that women – especially those interested – did not partake in using it themselves.

Lastly, the complex that the plot and characterisation forms in The Man of Mode does really qualify it to be a typical representative of its genre that abounds in aesthetics and reason both. With its various characters falling in and falling out of love (and good-will) with each other the plot, just within the span of five acts, achieves a remarkable unity of time, place and action. I was certainly left very entertained after this second reading of Sir George Etherage’s double titled Restoration Comedy.

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Ebook The Man of Mode (New Mermaids) read Online! Sir George Etherege was an English dramatist.

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