The Centre of Attention: Theatricality and the Restoration
Andrew P. Williams
North Carolina Central University
Williams, Andrew P. "The Centre of Attention: Theatricality
and the Restoration Fop." Early Modern Literary Studies 4.3 (January,
1999): 5.1-22 <URL: http://purl.oclc.org/emls/04-3/willfop.html>.
Fools which each man meets in his Dish each day,
Are yet the great Regalio's of a Play
(Prologue to Sir Martin Mar-All)
Displaying a flair for the dramatic typical of the comic playwright, Colley
Cibber confesses early in his An Apology for The Life of Colley Cibber
(1740) that "nothing gives a Coxcomb more Delight, than when you suffer
him to talk of himself" (21). Though speaking of himself, Cibber's simple
admission not only sheds light upon this particular comic's psyche, it
also reveals a significant aspect of the dramatic representation and characterization
of the character type who would become synonymous with Colley Cibber; the
Restoration stage fop. More so than any other character type of Restoration
drama, the fop "delights" in the social attention that comes from being
the focal point of dramatic speech or action. But while the dramatic characterization
of the fop requires that his attempts to garner this social attention be
comically inept and grounded in the ludicrous, the fop's ability to successfully
monopolize and control the locus of attention within his social setting
enables him to move from the periphery of the dramatic action and assume
a key position within the social dynamics of the stage. Because of the
inherent theatricality which defines his dramatic characterization and
conduct, the fop not only regularly succeeds in becoming the focus of social
attention, he routinely displaces the dramatic centrality of the more culturally
adept and masculine rakes, often challenging their hegemonic positions
and pushing them toward the unfamiliar territory of the social periphery.
The world of the stage fop is the social scenes of Restoration society.
Like any other "player" on stage, the fop is required to adapt his performance
to meet the social expectations appropriate to whatever scene he may be
playing. Social reality contains certain dramatic and ritualistic elements
of social interaction which require that an individual assume various roles.
A wedding, funeral, battle, or birth all contain various culturally constructed
criteria for realistic or acceptable social behavior which require different
guises in the "player's" persona. In order for the stage to represent the
social reality of the sophisticated and urbane society of the Restoration,
it is necessary to illustrate the contemporary rituals and forms associated
with that witty society. The greeting, the challenge, and the conversation
are a few of the important social conventions whose representation on stage
require an acknowledgment of their ritualized elements and a perceptible
acceptance of the proper social role each situation demands. When the performance
or representation of these social roles on stage is conducted in a manner
that reflects society's codes of normative behaviour, the performer is
seen to be acting naturally; however, when those roles are performed with
a self-conscious awareness of their dramatic nature beyond the codes of
socially acceptable behaviour, then naturalness has been purposefully replaced
with the artificial in the form of social theatricality.
While ritual is a fundamental component to social interaction and behaviour,
certain social rituals of the Restoration stage which require careful attention
to public posturing are more conducive to the exhibition of artificial
behaviour than others. These social "scenes," such as the modes of courtship
and polite conversation, prove the perfect stage for the fop's grandiose
interpretation of contemporary social roles. Differentiating between the
natural and artificial actions of a person, Thomas Hobbes illustrated the
importance of social role playing: "So that a person, is the same that
an actor is, both on the stage and in common conversation" (Leviathan
3:148). What Hobbes called "common conversation" is represented on the
Restoration comic stage as a closely knit, but limited theatrical society
of dramatic character types whose members, the rake, the witty woman, the
cuckold, and the fop, constitute the basic social unit.
If, as Deborah Payne suggests, during the Restoration "social constraints
prevented what we might dub 'honest exchange'" and certain social settings
"preclude natural behavior"(404-405), then the representation of unnatural
or artificial behaviour within the dramatic social unit constitutes a major
portion of the comic stage's concern with its imitation of human nature.
Of particular importance to the fop is the conflict between the conception
of "natural behavior" and the affected mannerisms he tries to pawn off
as natural. According to Norman Holland, the Restoration character can
be described as "Clearly divided into a nucleus of inner self or nature
and a peripheral shell of appearances" (58). As such, the behaviours characteristic
of the fop illustrate a devaluation of the internal, or natural self, in
favour of the external, or artificial outer shell. This is clearly evident
in John Howard's fop Mr. Frenchlove (The English Mounsieur 1663),
who calls his clothes, discourse, and fashion a "second nature." Here the
fop relinquishes any "honest" claim to a private nature, substituting it
with a constructed social persona where the spontaneity and sincerity which
accompanies "natural" conduct within social relations is replaced by well
rehearsed theatrical behaviour (Theatricality 4).
Generally incapable of sincere or spontaneous social intercourse, the fop's
"conversation" and conduct are staged to fit the demands of whatever social
situation he may find himself. Much like the fop Flash's admission in Charles
Johnson's The Gentleman-Cully (1702), that he interjects unfamiliar,
French, "alamode" words into conversation, or the reliance on a stockpile
of what Neal Norrick calls "stock conversational witticisms" such as Novelty
Fashion's "Stop my vitals" (Love's Last Shift 1696), the range of
the fop's discourse is limited to such an extent that he cannot adequately
improvise alternative conversational scripts. From William Wycherley's
The Gentleman Dancing Master (1672), the fop, Monsieur De Paris,
places such stock in French lexical refinements and witticisms that he
is incapable of recognizing the value of true, conversational ease. When
questioned by Hippolita, Paris admits to Gerrard's natural conversational
ease, describing his rival as, "witty, brave, and de bel humeur" (1.1.133-134).
But, in the fop's estimation, Gerrard lacks wit because he "can't dance
a step nor sing a French song nor swear a French oate nor use the polite
French word in his conversation" (1.1. 148-150). Paris, like any fop worth
his periwig, consciously devalues natural conversational ease, and instead,
relies upon a rehearsed lexicon which serves to do little more than draw
attention to his excessively theatrical mode of social interplay.
Theatricality within social conversation and interaction, as Elizabeth
Burns points out, is not so much a specific type of behavior or expression
as a condition applied "to any kind of behavior perceived and interpreted
by others and described (mentally or explicitly) in theatrical terms" (13).
The identification of behavior as theatric is most often associated with
the over-playing of social roles which foregrounds the dramatic or artificial
side of social intercourse. James Howard's stage direction for Frenchlove's
first exit - "he makes Ridiculous legs and goes off" - illustrates the
comic impetus of the fop's brand of social theatricality. Frenchlove cannot
just turn and take his leave of Lady Wealthy, his propensity for affectation
forces him to transform the simple social ritual of a farewell into histrionic
excess. Frenchlove's over-playing is an unconditionally public display,
a conscious performance that demands attention, even if that attention
comes in the form of comic ridicule and abuse. As Frenchlove departs, Mr.
Welbred remarks on the variety of fools who have come to London, to which
Lady Wealthy adds: "Indeed I think this fellow not inferior to any kind
of Ass that ever I saw-pray let's make good use of him" (1.1.183-184).
Lady Wealthy's observation of Frenchlove's social inadequacy demonstrates
the necessity of understanding the codes of social conduct in order to
judge an action as natural or not. She is quite aware that certain social
situations and rituals require that one speak and act within certain established
forms, what John Shotter calls "social accountability" (143), and that
any excessively dramatic deviation from those norms is open game for abuse.
Lady Wealthy possesses the social knowledge which permits her both to recognize
Frenchlove's behavior as artificially excessive and to provide comic commentary
Because it requires social recognition, theatricality is contingent upon
a public forum where the behavior under observation takes on a greater
degree of performance than is socially required. Cognizant of the dramatic
forms associated with social interaction, the fop approaches his social
performance with an artificiality and sense of excess that not only magnify
his comic ridiculum, they also direct his audience's attention onto his
own stage presence. His theatric and affected behavior often results in
the fop acting as a one man metatheater within the larger context of the
Restoration stage. For example, Cibber's Novelty Fashion takes full advantage
of what Montague Summers calls the "curious custom" (4) of allowing free
admission to the theater for anyone who did not intend to stay for more
than one act to root himself squarely as the center of dramatic attention
through a calculated display of theatrics:
Sir Nov.- I'll come to you presently, Madam, I have just done: Then
you must know, my Coach and equipage are as well known as my self; and
since the Conveniency of two Play-houses, I have a better opportunity of
shewing them: For between every Act-Whisk- I am gone from one to th'other:-Of!
what Pleasure 'tis at a good Play, to go out before half an Act's done!
Novelty's admission that his conduct "looks particular" situates the action
within a social script that he routinely employs for the purpose of shifting
the attention of his fellow theater-goers away from the action of the stage
and on to himself. However, what Novelty does not readily acknowledge is
the artificiality of the act. Though the fop is successful in garnering
the attention he desires, the superficiality of his actions is not likely
to lead his audience to conclude that he must attend to "some extraordinary
Business or a fine Woman." Rather, as Etherege's Gatty in She Would
if She Could (1668) recognizes, this type of theatrical display is
more a sign of personal vanity than pressing business. Speaking of the
type of men who dash from one playhouse to the another, Gatty says:
Nar.- Why at a good Play?
Sir Nov.- O! Madam, it looks Particular, and gives the whole Audience
an Opportunity of turning upon me at once: Then do they conclude I have
some extraordinary Business, or a fine Woman to go to at least.
they seldom stay any longer than the combing of their periwigs, or
a whisper or two with a friend; and then they cock their caps, and out
they strut again.
But while Gatty is certainly not impressed by their behavior, the
fops, with their strutting and preening, have definitely captured her attention.
The manifestation of social theatricality in the fop's behavior is most
apparent in his attempts to enhance the effect of his already noticeable
presence through monopolizing the social space available to him. Michael
Ketcham illustrates the intricate relationship between the world of the
stage and social reality when he defines social space as a type of theatrical
setting: "there are certain regions in which social performance can take
place; there are certain 'stages' on which a social actor can present an
image of himself" (399). The fop is jealous of the attention that can be
garnered in these "certain regions," and he does everything that he can
to monopolize the attention of the other "actors" who share the social
setting. W. Gerald Marshall cites this particular form of theatricality
in Wycherley's The Country Wife as central to "the play's innovative
sense of the comic" (411). Sparkish's introduction of Harcourt to Alithea
is, Marshall claims, a "dramatic improvisation in which he creates his
own little stage" (417). Sparkish positions Harcourt as a spectator to
his display of his prospective wife, playing the part of the nonchalant
"wit" much in the same vein as his previous performance as the "poet's
rival" at the play-house. Sparkish's role playing is readily seen by both
the audience in general and the audience on stage as inappropriate and
insincere, especially when it becomes obvious that Harcourt is not performing
the role of fellow "wit" that Sparkish has assigned to him. Though Sparkish
may see his social performance as a success, his inability to determine
the sincerity of Harcourt's praise of Alithea proves him a comic failure
as the fop inadvertently sets the stage for the loss of his own fiancée.
Sparkish is too concerned with his public performance to realize that his
attempt to control social space, although it garnered him some temporary
social attention, also magnified his laughable social ineptitude.
Sparkish's dramatic display illustrates his attempt to manipulate a closely
knit social space and control the centre of conversation between himself
and Harcourt, as well as that between Harcourt and Alithea. On a larger
scale, the attempts of Etherege's Sir Fopling Flutter to position himself
as the focal point of social attention in whatever social space he occupies
are routinely grounded in his ability to dominate conversations. Prior
to Fopling's first entrance in The Man of Mode (1676), several of
the play's "wit" characters, Dorimant, Medley, Lady Townley, Emilia and
Bellinda, are engaged in a conversation about reputation and jealousy.
Apart from an interlude where Bellinda and Dorimant privately discuss their
assignation, the group's discussion remains consistently balanced and interactive.
Even after Bellinda departs, no one voice dominates the conversation. However,
upon the entrance of Sir Fopling the conversational dynamics of the scene
change as the fop positions himself at the center of conversational attention.
He casually kisses Lady Townley's hands then turns to Dorimant while Emilia,
Lady Townley and Medley act as an audience for the fop's exaggerated greeting.
Fopling stops talking to Dorimant only after Lady Townley informs him of
a possible breach of social etiquette because he has not greeted Emilia.
Fopling deftly shifts from Dorimant to Emilia with "A thousand pardons
Madam" (3.2. 196), and quickly praises her before turning back to Dorimant
and inquiring if the other spectator to his entrance is Medley. Dorimant
informs him that it is, to which Fopling turns again with a formal "Forgive
me sir in this embarra of civilities" (3.2. 209-210).
Fopling's entrance signals his domination of the group's discussion. The
fop's "formal" apologies act as theatrical clues signifying a change in
the direction of his conversational discourse. While before Fopling's entrance
no one voice dominated the conversation, after his arrival, the only other
voices that are heard are those with whom the fop is speaking at the time.
The remainder of the scene's dialogue is constructed in a singular pattern
of Fopling speaking and one character at a time replying to what the fop
has just said. All commentary is directed toward the fop as it becomes
increasingly apparent that Fopling has made himself the center of attention
and has virtually silenced the other witty characters, including the rake,
Dorimant. When the direction of the conversation turns toward an inventory
of Fopling's garniture, the fop gains complete control of the group's social
space as the topic of discussion revolves solely upon his physical and
fashionable presence. In a rather playful manner, the "wit" characters
emphatically list Fopling's fashion accessories, all to the fop's delight:
L. Town.- The suit.
Sir. Fop.- Barroy.
Emilia.- The garniture.
Sir Fop.- Le Gras-
Med.- The shoes!
Sir Fop.- Piccar!
Dor.- The periwig!
Sir Fop.- Chedreux.
Town and Emilia.- The gloves!
Sir Fop.- Oregerii!
The enthusiasm illustrates an almost game-like atmosphere to the
exchange in which Fopling relishes his role as both a player in the game
as well as the field of play itself.
After Fopling exits with his signature "a Revoir" and call that his "people
be ready," the conversation returns to its pre-Fopling balance as the "wit"
characters critique Fopling and his social behavior. Dorimant calls him
"brisk and insipid" while Medley refers to him as "Pert and dull." Emilia,
however, does not find it necessary to condemn Fopling and even offers
some defense for the fop stating, "I'le lay my Life he passes for a Wit
with many" (3.2. 291-292). It is apparent that Fopling's theatrical domination
of the conversational space did not irritate Emilia as it did her male
counterparts who have more personal reasons for their condemnation. After
all, the more social space an artificial being like Fopling is able to
control, the less opportunity the wittier and more "sincere" rakes have
to manipulate that space for their own ends. As "Pert and dull" as he may
be, Fopling's command of social space threatens the more rakish and witty
males, making them acutely aware of their own needs to control social space.
The fop's monopolization of conversational space constitutes his most effective
display of artificial theatricality. Occasionally fops do sing or dance
for attention, but generally, the fop is most adept at reinforcing his
social presence through conversational means. Wycherley's Dapperwit (Love
in a Wood 1671) and Congreve's Petulant and Witwould (The Way of
The World 1700) rely upon their conversational raillery in acquiring
social attention to such an extent, that in the case of Petulant and Witwould,
Katherine Lynch remarks that without their raillery, the two fops "could
not even exist" (207). Another of Congreve's fops, Tattle (Love For
Love 1695), secures conversational attention by inappropriately revealing
personal intimacies, while at one point, John Crowne's Sir Mannerly Shallow
(The Country Wit 1676), becomes the focus of conversational attention
by fervently describing his own theatrical experiences as a singer and
The most common method of acquiring conversational attention is for the
fop to turn himself into the topic of conversation or commentary. Like
Fopling Flutter, Cibber's Novelty Fashion (Love's Last Shift) successfully
becomes the centre of social attention through an inventory of his dress,
but Novelty also succeeds in inverting a major portion of the ritualized
component of contemporary Restoration courtship dialogue when he turns
the topic of his second act conversation with Hillaria from flattering
the young woman to coaxing out compliments from her cousin Narcissa. Flattery
is an accepted and expected component of Restoration social intercourse,
and obtrusive and excessive flattery is, of course, a hallmark of the fop.
Novelty, however, senses that his scripted praises of Hillaria - "Your
Beauty, like the Rack, forces every Beholder to confess his Crime-of daring
to adore you" (2.1.4-5) - are ineffective, so he feigns a self-depreciating
attitude in the hopes of impressing Narcissa with his "modesty." Novelty's
complaint that he has a "more hellish Complexion than a stale Actress in
a Morning" draws Narcissa's quick rebuttal: "Now you are too severe, Sir
Novelty," and the fop's request to be told "one tolerable thing about me"
draws out the compliment, "Oh, Sir Novelty, this is unanswerable; 'tis
hard to know the brightest part of a Diamond" (2.1. 32-33).
Novelty directs the conversation with Narcissa toward the stroking of his
own vanity, but when Narcissa tries to do the same by engaging the fop
in a compliment contest with Young Worthy, Novelty again uses the occasion
to flatter not the witty woman, but himself. After detailing the excellent
nature of his carriage and "publick Reputation," Novelty explains why it
is more important for him to publicly illustrate his fine points than those
of the lady:
Why, Madam, don't you think it more Glory to be belove'd by one eminently
particular Person, whom all the Town knows and talks of; than to be ador'd
by five hundred dull Souls that have lived incognito?
Narcissa does not agree with Novelty's logic and chides the fop
for not playing by the conversational rules of fashionable society: "He's
so in love with himself he won't allow a Woman the bare Comfort of a cold
Compliment" (2.1. 312-313). Though Young Worthy is quick to play by society's
rules and flatter Narcissa's "satyrical Smile" and "blushing Laugh," it
is apparent that Novelty's control of the conversation threatens the "wit"
characters' control of the social space. Narcissa finds it necessary to
condemn Novelty while Young Worthy pushes the fop to the ground after Novelty
successfully silences Young Worthy's conversational prowess and reveals
Narcissa's own streak of vanity.
The attempt to control conversational space is central to the theatrical
display of the fop's understanding and representation of social forms and
manners. The fop sees that social space as another context for performance,
another opportunity to be noticed. The inherent theatricality of the fop
is also verified by the fop's visual presence. Restoration playwrights
commonly accentuate the theatrical nature of the fop's characterization
by creating a visual, histrionic spectacle for his first appearance on
stage. By deferring the fop's arrival, oftentimes until the second or third
act of the play, the playwrights could enhance a certain degree of comic
anticipation. Titular fops such as Sir Fopling Flutter and John Crowne's
Sir Courtly Nice (Sir Courtly Nice 1685) are both mentioned
early in the plays which bear their names, yet neither appear on stage
until the third act. This distancing between announcing his existence and
the arrival of the fop anticipates the fop's comic presence where the audience
knows that it will see a pert coxcomb sometime in the play but does not
With the notable exception of Timothy Tawdry from Aphra Behn's The Town
Fop (1676), the character of the fop is rarely the centre of social
attention when the curtain goes up on the first act of a Restoration comedy.
This position is primarily occupied by the male, "wit" characters whose
conversation usually provides the exposition of the play. Generally, the
fop appears later in the scene, sometimes inserting himself into the conversation
of the witty men (Flash, The Gentleman- Cully, Mr. Frenchlove, The
English Mounsieur, De Boastado, The Careless Lovers 1673), or
he makes his first appearance as a part of a larger company of other characters
(Dapperwit, Love in A Wood, Novelty Fashion, Love's Last Shift).
Rarely does the fop first appear on stage alone or as the only major character,
but on those occasions when he does, playwrights usually maximize the comic
potential of this moment through a demonstration of the theatrical nature
of the fop's excessive and affected persona. Such is the case in both John
Crowne's Sir Courtly Nice and John Vanbrugh's The Relapse
(1696), where the initial entrances of the fops are marked by a distinct
magnification of the explicit theatricality of their dramatic presence.
Sir Courtly's first appearance on stage squarely positions the fop as the
centre of theatrical attention as the scene shifts in Act 3 from Farewell
and Crack's conversation in Covent Garden Square to Sir Courtly's chamber.
Courtly is first seen in the midst of dressing while a man and a woman
sing a love song to the fop:
Woman- I fear to yield but cannot deny.
Man- If you do not I shall die.
Woman- So shall I.
Both- So shall I.
Though the insipid sentiment of the song seems to be catering to
the fop's fancy, this singing dialogue of three verses functions as a directional
controlling device which steers the audience's locus of attention directly
toward the fop. Crowne specifically points out in the scene description
that the song is not merely background entertainment for the fop's pleasure
or a brief musical interlude common in Restoration comedies, but that the
song is being sung to Courtly Nice as the fop is in the process of dressing:
"Scene, a CHAMBER- Sir Courtly Nice dressing, Men and Women singing to
him" (3.2). The inclusion of a chorus joining the main singers accentuates
Crowne's emphasis on dramatic spectacle as the song ends with all the singers
joining in a rousing climax:
Then come to joy-come to joy,
Better love than we shou'd die.
Come to joy, come to joy!
This musical accompaniment creates a much heightened awareness of
Courtly's every move as the fop's dressing ritual becomes a choreographed
display of musical theatre. As the song ends so too does Courtly's dressing
ritual; he sends the singers off and immediately complains about the quality
of their singing. Compliance, he tells his servant, is the mark of a gentleman:
"Wherever I go, all the world cries that's a gentleman, my life on't a
gentleman; and when y'ave said a gentleman, you have said it all" (3.2.
Crowne's inclusion of the song to mark Courtly's appearance magnifies the
histrionic excess the fop attaches to his daily routine. Specifically,
this initial exhibition of affectation illustrates a systematic display
of theatricality in which the fop clearly demonstrates his privileging
of the artificial over the natural. From this opening image, the audience
is made aware that Courtly not only places a premium on appearance and
being the centre of visual attention, he is the self-styled embodiment
of the theatre itself; he is creature born of dramatic excess, possessing
equal parts critic, audience, and player.
In John Vanbrugh's The Relapse, Lord Foppington also makes his first
appearance on stage in a dressing scene, but unlike Crowne's Courtly Nice,
Vanbrugh's fop does not require musical accompaniment to emphasize the
ritualistic pageantry he associates with this daily routine. Instead, Foppington's
running commentary concerning the social significance of his fashion accessories
clearly reveals the extent of his excessive affectations as the fop turns
the act of dressing into a carefully staged theatrical production. The
audience gets its first glimpse of the newly elevated Lord Foppington as
the fop, clad only in his nightgown, waits for his retinue of servants
to assist in his dressing. In what can be seen as a parody of the ritualized
donning of the knight's armour, this introductory dressing scene allows
the audience to witness the process by which the ex-Sir Novelty Fashion
is transformed into Lord Foppington. Calling for his tailor, shoemaker,
and periwig maker, Foppington inspects their wares and proceeds to comment
on how they fail to properly flatter him. The pocket in the tailor's suit
is much too high ("the Packet becomes no part of the Body but the Knee"),
the thickness of the hosier's stockings make Foppington's legs look too
healthy ("If the Town takes notice my Legs are fallen away, 'twil be attributed
to the Violence of some new intrigue"), and the two inches of Foppington's
face that Mr. Foretop's periwig does not cover is two inches too much ("a
Periwig to a Man, should be like a Mask to a Woman, nothing should be seen
but his Eyes"). In his attempt to be fashionable, Foppington reveals the
extent of his own misunderstanding of fashion and society. He is aware
of the ritual accoutrements of masculine dress, yet his penchant for theatrics
results in an excess of accessories.
Like the audience, Foppington's brother, Young Fashion, acts as witness
to the fop's dressing ritual commenting on the artificial transformation
that is taking place:
Thou sayst true, for there's that fop now, has not by nature wherewithal
to move a cook-maid, and by that time these fellows have done with him,
egad he shall melt down a countess.
Young Fashion's comment indicates the primary basis of Foppington's
ridiculous nature. The fop's affected excesses are planned and purchased
with the intent of impressing society, but this opening dressing scene
also allows the audience to witness the private making of the fop. Unlike
the other characters who see Foppington only after the transformation is
complete, the audience joins Young Fashion in recognizing the extent of
Foppington's affectations, and as a result, his comic artificiality. While
Foppington cavorts through the remaining acts, his characteristic unnaturalness
is magnified because of this introductory image of the fop before he is
"made" by his clothes. Foppington projects an image to the other members
of the theatrical society moulded by the way he wishes to be perceived,
but Vanbrugh's dressing scene allows the audience to view the comic reality
behind that image.
The introductory dressing scenes of Lord Foppington and Sir Courtly Nice
emphasize the affected nature of the fop's characterization by dramatizing
his reliance on histrionic excess and exposing the need for theatrical
display inherent to his identity. Even such private actions as dressing
must be performed with an acute attention to flair and pageantry. As what
Dryden called the "great Regalios of the Play," fops are conscious of the
intricacies of their social performance and jealously guard that social
space which serves as the setting for their own private production. As
a result, the Restoration fop not only sees the world as a stage, but adopts
the social sphere of fashionable London society as his own personal performing
grounds. He is the era's most consummate showman, a creature of society
whose person and identity are solely defined by fashionable and lexical
props which he can never fully master. Though ridiculed and often cruelly
abused, the fop acts out his few social scenes with a flair for the dramatic
unrivaled on the Restoration stage; and where "honest exchange" is an anomaly,
perhaps the fop's brand of personal and social theater reflects the heart
of Restoration manners and conduct more so than "genteel society" would
like to admit.
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Responses to this piece intended for the Readers' Forum
may be sent to the Editor at EMLS@UAlberta.ca.
1999-, R. G. Siemens and Lisa Hopkins, Editors, EMLS.