The Man of Mode: Comedy and the Masquerade

  • B. A. Kachur
Part of the English Dramatists book series (ENGDRAMA)


Eight years after the less-than-stellar reception of She Would If She Could, Etherege’s last play, The Man of Mode; or, Sir Fopling Flutter, revived his reputation among contemporaries as the finest dramatist of manners comedy. First performed by the Duke’s Company on 11 March 1676, this play appealed particularly to the court, who reportedly attended numerous performances, and it was immediately hailed by audiences at large as not only Etherege’s best comedy but also the best to date on the Carolean stage. Until the end of the century it continued to enjoy a number of revivals, including a production in Brussels on 3 October 1679 specially staged for the Duke of York, and a revival performed at Whitehall in 1685 for the newly enthroned James II.1 The enormous contemporary success of this comedy has been attributed in part to its purported verisimilitude, in particular its alleged naturalistic portrayal of lifelike characters whose manners, motives, and behaviour reflected the temperament of the significant number of court-based spectators and their acolytes who relished seeing their lifestyle enacted on the London stage. The play’s realism proved so noteworthy that its topical lifelikeness sparked particular mention from commentators, such as Langbaine, who lauded Etherege’s ‘art and judgment’ and reported the play as ‘acknowledg’d by all, to be as true Comedy, and the Characters as well drawn to Life, as any Play that has been Acted since the Restauration of the English stage’.2


Romantic Lover Audience Anticipation Entire Cast Male Hero Public Embarrassment 
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  1. 2.
    Gerard Langbaine, An Account of the English Stage (Oxford, 1691), p. 187.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© B.A. Kachur 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. A. Kachur
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of Missouri-St. LouisUSA

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