Futures Past: John Lyly's Visions of History in Euphues and His England

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John Lyly’s second major prose fiction, Euphues and His England, was first published in 1580. It opens with a description of the Athenian Euphues taking ship for England on the first day of December, 1579. Its setting is as nearly contemporary as it was possible for an early printed text to be. Yet the England
that Lyly goes on to describe is thickly populated with reminders of the histories that underpin this present moment: memories of the court of Henry VIII; a castle built by Julius Caesar; giants’ bones. This essay analyses the way in which Lyly’s fiction evokes narratives of historical progress and decline. Its argument is that much of the political ambivalence and complexity that recent critics have discovered in the text is generated by the way in which Euphues and His England frames Elizabethan England as the product of this ambiguous historical legacy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
JournalCahiers Élisabéthains
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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