First published in 1962, John Lyly marks a shift from the traditional focus on John Lyly as the originator of the strange stylistic craze called Euphuism, and as the dramatist from whose plays Shakespeare deigned to borrow some of his earliest and least attractive comic devices to an author whose works are excellent in themselves. Critics have suggested that an independent reading of Euphues, and more especially of the plays, reveals an attractive delicacy of wit and a refined power of linguistic filigree quite independent of his influence on others or his capacity to illustrate the curious tastes of our forefathers. The eight plays – his most mature artistic achievements – are analysed in detail to bring out their relation to the tradition of court drama. A final chapter compares Lyly and Shakespeare in an attempt to show in operation the different traditions which the book has discussed. This book will appeal to students of English literature, drama and literary history.

chapter I|35 pages

Humanism and Courtship

chapter II|53 pages

Life and Euphues

chapter III|70 pages

Entertaining the Court of Elizabeth

chapter IV|98 pages

The Plays

chapter V|41 pages

The Victim of Fashion

chapter VI|52 pages

Lyly and Shakespeare