Collection No. 80: Know Your Own Mind, by Arthur Murphy

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

Publication details

Author: Murphy, Arthur
Author dates: 1727-1805
Title: Know Your Own Mind

First played: 1777
First published: 1778, for T. Becket [etc.] 98 p.
C18th availability: Not available

Modern availability: Available from LION (1996)

Genre: Comedy

Trend(s): Popularity

Character types: French

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See "Secondary Commentary".

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Secondary commentary

A) Bode, Robert F. ‘Arthur Murphy: December 27, 1727-June 18, 1805.’ Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 89: Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Dramatists, Third Series. Edited by Paula R. Backscheider, University of Rochester. The Gale Group, 1989. LiteratureResourceCenter. 29 May 2008.

"Murphy's Know Your Own Mind, which he had completed by 1760, was performed at Covent Garden on 22 February 1777. Again Murphy began with a contemporary French play for his source, but he so altered the elements that he borrowed that Know Your Own Mind is clearly his own creation. The play has an extremely involved plot consisting of no less that three overlapping love triangles. This structure is further complicated by conflicting parental orders to marry, an irresolute suitor (Millamour), a tyrannical, conniving widow (Mrs. Bromley), and a fortune-hunting machiavel (Malvil). By the conclusion all of the lovers are matched up with the suitors of their choice, Millamour has settled on which lady he will really marry (Lady Bell), Mrs. Bromley has admitted her wrongdoing toward her dependent Miss Neville and accepted her suitor Bygrove, and Malvil is thoroughly exposed for his hypocrisy. The play was successful in its first run, although by all accounts some members of the cast were not quite up to the demands of the roles, which were written for specific actors and actresses fifteen years earlier. After a brief period in which it was not acted, it was performed yearly well into the nineteenth century. Contemporary critics praised the play, and modern critics are almost uniform in their agreement of its value. Howard Dunbar calls it "the best comedy of manners since Congreve," and others rank it higher in many ways than Sheridan's The School for Scandal (1777)."

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Varieties & Dialects

Overview of varieties / dialects

Mme. La Rouge, a French noblewoman, speaks in Franglais.

Varieties / dialects

Variety: Mme La Rouge
a. Sample of dialect
[page 33]
La Rouge. Ah! my Lady! always so gay; English climate no effect upon you. De maniere de Paris for all de vorl. En verite, vous est charmante .

Lady Bell . Oh! Madam La Rouge, you say such polite things; but you rob me of all my money.

[page 34 ]

My sister is rich: you had better deal with her. Sister, you'll be married before me.
"No, no, he is true, and I believe, &c.

Lady Jane . Was ever any thing so crazy?

La Rouge. It is all vivacite ! and, my Lady, you have ver great wit en partage; vous avez les graces ! you have de grace; but you no deal vid me.

Lady Jane . I shall call at your house in Pall-mall. Miss Neville, you joined against me: I am very angry with you.


La Rouge. Madamoiselle, I tell you; persuade my Lady to have de lace, and you come to my house, me give you ver pretty present.

b.1 Orthography: “de”; “vorl” (world); “ver” (very); “vid” (with)
b.2 Grammar: “English climate no effect”; “you have de grace”; “you no deal vid me”; “me give you”
b.3 Vocabulary: French: “De maniere de Paris”; “En verite, vous est charmante” (actually a grammar error in French – cf. Murphy’s education); “vivacite”; “en partage”; “vous avez les graces”
c. Nationality: French
d. Character profile: a French noblewoman
e. Consistency of representation: consistent

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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