Collection No. 54: The Lyar, by Samuel Foote

Publication Details | Synopsis | Secondary Commentary |Varieties & Dialects | Other

Publication details

Author: Foote, Samuel
Author dates: 1720 - 1777
Title: The Lyar

First played: 1762
First published: 1764, for G. Kearsly. 66p.
C18th availability: Available from ECCO (1764):

Modern availability: Available from LION (1996):

Genre: Comedy

Character types: French

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Secondary commentary

A) Howard, Douglas. ‘Samuel Foote: January, 1721-October 21, 1777.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. LiteratureResourceCenter. 26 May 2008.

"This play is an exception to the usual pattern of Foote's work, since it was not particularly topical and offered him no successful vehicle as an actor. The story involves the London adventures of a mendacious hero, Young Wilding, and Foote's prologue alleges that it is based on Lope de Vega. As Mary Megie Belden has pointed out, however, the play actually derives from Corneille's Le Menteur (1643), to which Sir Richard Steele had also turned for his play The Lying Lover. Although Foote had little success in the title role at Covent Garden, the play held the stage longer than any other of his works."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

StE throughout except for Young Wilding at the beginning and Papillion intermittently: his current incarnation is as a French valet.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Young Wilding
7a. Sample of dialect

Y. Wild.
Why then, adieu, Alma Mater, and bien venüe, la ville de Londre; farewel to the schools, and welcome the theatres; presidents, proctors, short commons with long graces, must now give place to plays, bagnios, long tavern-bills with no graces at all.

b.1 Orthography
b.2 Grammar
b.3 Vocabulary: some French words
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: young English nobleman
e. Consistency of representation: only at the beginning

Variety: Papillion
a. Sample of dialect

A little bit of a Swiss genius, who had been French usher with me at the same school in the country. I open'd my melancholy story to him, over three pennyworth of beef-a la-mode, in a cellar in St. Ann's. My little foreign friend purs'd up his lanthorn jaws, and with a shrug of contempt, "Ah, maître Jean, vous n'avez pas la politique; you have no finesse: to trive here you must study the folly of your own country." "How, Monsieur!" "Taisez vous. Keep a your tongue! autre foy! I teach you speak French, now I teach a you to forget English. Go vid me to my logement, I vil give you proper dress; den go present yourself to de same hotels, de very same house; you will find all de doors dat was shut in your face as footman Anglois, will fly open demselves to a French valet de chambre."

b.1 Orthography: "trive" (thrive); "vid"; "vil"; "den"
b.2 Grammar: "who had been French usher"; "teach a you"
b.3 Vocabulary: French: "vous n'avez pas la politique", "taisez vous", "autre foy"
c. Nationality: English
d. Character profile: English valet who finds better employment as a Frenchman
e. Consistency of representation: P can feign Frenchness when necessary

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Narrative comments on varieties and dialects


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Other points of interest


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©2008 Arden Hegele