Fictions of Authorship in Late Elizabethan Narratives: Euphues in Arcadia
The sensational narratives of John Lyly, Robert Greene, and Thomas Lodge established prose fiction as an independent genre in the late sixteenth century. The texts they created are a paradoxical blend of outrageous plotting and rhetorical sophistication, high and low culture. Although their works were feverishly devoured by contemporary readers, these writers are usually only known to students as sources for Shakespearean comedy. Fictions of Authorship in Late Elizabethan Narratives re-examines some of the pamphleteers earlier critics christened the 'University Wits', young professionals who exposed their education and talents to the still new and uncertain world of mass market publication. These texts chart their authors' disenchantment with the limitations of romance and of their own careers, yet they also form an alternative canon of vernacular writing, which is both self-referential and self-questioning. Shocking, unpredictable, and very engaging, these narratives provide a vivid commentary on the interface between popular taste and 'English literature'.
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