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Elizabethan FictionsEspionage, Counter-espionage, and the Duplicity of Fiction in Early Elizabethan Prose Narratives$
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R. W. Maslen

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198119913

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198119913.001.0001

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The Dissolution of Euphues

The Dissolution of Euphues

(p.199) 5 The Dissolution of Euphues
Elizabethan Fictions

R. W. Maslen

Oxford University Press

Lyly's two Eupheus books look like a pair of self-important volumes which aspire to form an entire private library of their own. Between them, they contain representative samples of almost every kind of text known to the Elizabethan reader: from Italian novella to Roman New Comedy, from childcare manual to marriage guidance pamphlet, from theological disputation to alchemical tract, from animal fable to tourist brochure. But in addition to the incipient future fictions they contain, the Eupheus books also carry the seed of their own redundancy. Of all Elizabethan writers of fiction, Lyly is perhaps the most conscious of the temporal limits of his text. He stressed the inevitability of his book's eventual outmoding in order to emphasize the highly topical nature of their contents.

Keywords:   Euphues, John Lyly, Roman New Comedy, Italian novella

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