John Lyly

Lyly or Lilly, John (both: lĭlˈē) [key], 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 Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on John Lyly from Fact Monster:

  • Thomas Deloney - Deloney, Thomas Deloney, Thomas , c.1543–c.1600, English ballad writer, fiction writer, and ...
  • euphuism - euphuism euphuism , in English literature, a highly elaborate and artificial style that derived ...
  • Marprelate controversy - Marprelate controversy Marprelate controversy , a 16th-century English religious argument. Martin ...
  • Wedding Quotations - Quotations concerning marriage and weddings
  • Western drama: Renaissance Drama - Renaissance Drama By the advent of the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th cent., most European ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature, 1500 to 1799: Biographies