Article Title

Who's Holding the Mirror?


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Anyone who looks for even a moment at comment upon Restoration comedy, by either its contemporary critics or those of our own day, can hardly avoid that term which is used so often to describe it: comedy of manners. And as the night the day, a certain collection of adjectives will invariably precede or follow this phrase: sparkling, shallow, affected, unnatural, superficial, artificial, casual, brilliant. If one has managed to survive in this world to a stage of some rationality he will realize immediately that such epithets are not descriptive of anything in life that really is, and that if they are consistently applied to a certain kind of drama then that drama surely must reflect an illusory, unreal world. Circuitously perhaps, we arrive then at a working definition: comedy of manners presents the world not .as it is but as it appears to be.

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