A Short History of English Literature

By Harry Blamires | Go to book overview

8

Elizabethan and seventeenth-century prose

Quite apart from books which directly contributed to the development of the novel and which we shall consider later, there were many influential prose works written in this period that must necessarily interest us if only for the fact that they fed the minds of the reading public that included the great poets and dramatists we have been considering. As in all ages, some of the most successful books were much less than masterpieces. John Lyly’s Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit (1578), and its sequel, Euphues and His England (1580), achieved great notoriety. Though they were ostensibly prose romances, the narrative element is a thin skeleton clothed with dialogue, discourses and didactic letters. Succeeding sections have such titles as ‘How the lyfe of a young man should be ledde’ and ‘Of the education of youth’; but the moralizing is shallow, and Lyly has no claim to be considered a serious thinker. It was his style that ‘caught on’, and gave us the words euphuism and euphuistic. It is highly artificial, abounding in balanced antitheses or pseudo-antitheses, and it is cluttered with pretentious allusions, mythological and pseudo-scientific:

The Spider weaveth a fine web to hang the Fly, the Wolfe weareth a faire face to devour the Lambe, the Mirlin striketh at the Partridge, the Eagle often snappeth at the Fly, men are always laying baites for women, which are the weaker vessels: but as yet I could never heare man by such snares to entrappe man: For true it is that men themselves have by use observed, yat it must be a harde Winter when one wolfe eateth another.

The style was widely taken up by the gallants and provoked both appreciative and parodic imitation in literature.

Among the books which give a first-hand account of Elizabethan

-111-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Short History of English Literature
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 486

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.