Comedy of Manners Criticism: Comedy Of Manners And Society - Essay

John Palmer (essay date 1913)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Palmer, John. “Critical Preliminaries.” In The Comedy of Manners, pp. 1-29. 1913. Reprint. New York: Russell & Russell, Inc., 1962.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1913, Palmer describes the impact that Jeremy Collier's Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage had on the comedy of manners.]

Who are the comic dramatists of the Restoration? Dryden wrote comedies; Shadwell's Squire of Alsatia was as popular in its day and regarded as of equal importance with The Country Wife; Sir Charles Sedley, Buckingham, and Rochester, have a claim to be included; Aphra Behn, Crowne and Settle could not very...

(The entire section is 7899 words.)

Newell W. Sawyer (essay date 1931)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Sawyer, Newell W. “The Decline of a Tradition.” In The Comedy of Manners: From Sheridan to Maugham, pp. 1-21. 1931. Reprint. New York: Russell & Russell, 1969.

[In the following essay, originally published in 1931, Sawyer traces the evolution of comedy during the eighteenth century and discusses the societal forces and influences that provoked changes in the genre.]

It has been often attested that one gets close to the real soul of a man or a people through observing what that man or that people finds to laugh at. Without entering into the philosophy of the matter, however, we may at least be sure that the term “comedy” connotes larger possibilities...

(The entire section is 5870 words.)

Elisabeth Mignon (essay date 1947)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Mignon, Elisabeth. Introduction to Crabbed Age and Youth: The Old Men and Women in the Restoration Comedy of Manners, pp. 3-35. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1947.

[In the following essay, Mignon analyzes the comedy of manner's attack on old age and its reverence for youth, illustrating with numerous examples.]

Superannuated belles and timeworn rakes crowded the English stage between 1660 and 1700. The old women with their decayed charms are always pursuers, never pursued. The old men are predestined to wear the horns on their ugly foreheads. The aged of both sexes are loathsome to the gay young blades and precocious heroines who bewilder and victimize...

(The entire section is 10125 words.)