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Lyly, John

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).

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LYLY, John

LYLY, John [c.1554–1606]. English writer and Member of Parliament, born in Kent, and educated at Oxford and Cambridge. Known as ‘the Euphuist’, he was one of the first prose stylists to leave a lasting mark on the language. He wrote the two-part romance Euphues, or the Anatomie of Wit (1578) and Euphues and his England (1580), an early epistolary ‘novel’ with comments on religion, love, and style. His ‘new English’ favoured an ornate, classical style widely admired during the Renaissance and known to this day as euphuism.

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Lyly, John

Lyly, John (1553–1606) English poet, dramatist, and writer of prose romances. His prose comedies and pastoral romances include Sappho and Phao (1584), Endymion: the Man in the Moon (1591), and Midas (1592). Lyly is best known for the elaborate prose style that he evolved in Euphues (1578).

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