John Lyly

John Lyly (both: lĬl´ē), 1554?–1606, English dramatist and prose writer. An accomplished courtier, he also served as a member of Parliament from 1589 to 1601. His Euphues, published in two parts (The Anatomy of Wit, 1578, and Euphues and His England, 1580), was an early example of the novel of manners and was one of the most influential works of its time. In it Lyly tried to establish an ideal of perfected prose style, which was actually convoluted and artificial (see euphuism). His early plays, the most notable being Campaspe (1584) and Endimion (1591), followed Euphues in their elaborate style, but his later work, specifically Mother Bombie (1594), employed the realistic, robust manner of Roman comedy. His Woman in the Moon (1594?) was a a successful experiment in blank verse. Shakespeare and other Elizabethan playwrights were indebted to him for his innovation of prose as the vehicle for comic dialogue and for his development of the romantic comedy.

See his complete works edited by R. W. Bond (new ed. 1967); studies by G. K. Hunter (1962 and 1968) and P. Saccio (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2018, The Columbia University Press.

John Lyly: Selected full-text books and articles

Euphues: the Anatomy of Wit: Euphues & His England By John Lyly; Morris William Croll; Harry A. M. Clemons G Routledge and Sons Ltd, 1916
FREE! Representative English Comedies By Charles Mills Gayley The Macmillan Company, vol.1, 1912
Librarian's tip: "John Lyly" begins on p. 263
A primary source is a work that is being studied, or that provides first-hand or direct evidence on a topic. Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts.
FREE! English Drama By Felix E. Schelling J. M. Dent and Sons, 1914
Librarian's tip: Chap. III "Lyly, Marlowe and Other Immediate Predecessors of Shakespeare"
English Drama 1586-1642: The Age of Shakespeare By G. K. Hunter Clarendon Press, 1997
Librarian's tip: Chap. 7 "The Boy Actors and the New Dramaturgy"
Stefano Guazzo and the English Renaissance, 1575-1675 By John Leon Lievsay University of North Carolina Press, 1961
Librarian's tip: "John Lyly" begins on p. 78
Sons and Authors in Elizabethan England By Derek B. Alwes University of Delaware Press, 2004
Librarian's tip: Chap. 1 "What Thing So Precious as Wit?: John Lyly's Euphues Works" and Chap. 2 "I Would Faine Serve: John Lyly's Career at Court"
Humanist Poetics: Thought, Rhetoric, and Fiction in Sixteenth-Century England By Arthur F. Kinney University of Massachusetts Press, 1986
Librarian's tip: Chap. Five "Singuler Eloquence and Braue Composition: John Lyly, Euphues, and Its Sequel"
Theatre and Humanism: English Drama in the Sixteenth Century By Kent Cartwright Cambridge University Press, 1999
Librarian's tip: Chap. 6 "The Confusions of Gallathea: John Lyly as Popular Dramatist"
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