John Lyly and the uses of irony

Yacowar, Maurice (1968). John Lyly and the uses of irony. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis investigates Lyly's ironic use of traditional images, character types, plot situations, and forms of expression to suggest that Euphues was conceived in a spirit of extravagance.

Part One examines the irony in Lyly's drama. His technique is based upon the principle of contrast, the part always to be considered in the light of its context. The integration of the songs supports their claim to Lyly's authorship. Sometimes the play is 'framed' by pertinent prologue and epilogue, confirming the effect of context. Lyly's court comedies aroused and complimented Queen Elizabeth but also contained a hidden element of instruction and request.

Part Two suggests that Euphues was an ironic exhibition of false wit, sophistry, and rhetorical artifice intended to test the reader's power to discriminate substance from style. Lyly remains uncommitted to the style and the attitudes of Euphues.

Part Three offers further evidence of Lyly's subtlety in wording and his skill in other-statement. A tradition of ironic euphuism is traced through Gascoigne, Pettie, Lyly and Shakespeare.

The conclusion summarises the motives of the ironist.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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