Euphuism (273 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Note


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A term derived from the title of John Lyly's best-selling prose work, Euphues; The Anatomy of Wit, “euphuism” denotes the highly patterned prose style adopted by a host of writers in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, and credited with influencing the language of the Elizabethan court. Though the fundamental characteristics of the form did not originate with Lyly, the style has become synonymous with his work, in that he employed it more systematically and to greater effect than any of the many writers who sought to exploit his success. The style is rooted in antithetical balance, with sentences typically constructed of a series of paired clauses, matching one another syntactically but contrasting in meaning. …

Citation: Scragg, Leah. "Euphuism". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 June 2003 [, accessed 29 November 2020.]

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