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(yo͞o`fyo͞oĭzəm), in English literature, a highly elaborate and artificial style that derived from the Euphues (1578) of John LylyLyly or Lilly, John
, 1554?–1606, English dramatist and prose writer. An accomplished courtier, he also served as a member of Parliament from 1589 to 1601.
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 and that flourished in England in the 1580s. It was characterized by extensive use of simile and illustration, balanced construction, alliteration, and antithesis. Euphuism played an important role in English literary history by demonstrating the capabilities of English prose. The term has come to mean an artificial, precious, high-flown style of writing.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a florid, elegant style in English literature of the last third of the 16th century, consisting entirely of rhetorical turns of phrase and figures of speech; its guiding principle was a syntactic, lexical, and phonetic parallelism (J. Lyly’s novel Euphues, the source of the term, the novels of R. Greene, and the early comedies of Shakespeare). Euphuism helped enrich the language of English literature and bring about its rapprochement with other European literatures. Karamzinism in Russian literature from 1790 to the 1810’s is an analogous development.

In a broader sense, euphuism denotes a grandiloquent style replete with tropes, metaphors, and periphrases.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


style overly rich with alliteration, figures, and Latinisms. [Br. Lit.: Euphues, Espy, 127]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bradbrook's The Growth and Structure of Elizabethan Comedy, Albert Feuillerat's John Lyly, William Ringler's "The Immediate Source of Euphuism," and Virgil K.
features of euphuism had undoubtedly become a target for ridicule by the
"The Death of Euphues: Euphuism and Decadence in Late Victorian Literature." English Literature in Transition 45.1 (2002): 4-25.
This is typical of euphuism. The style also incorporates proverbial sayings, literary and historical allusions, analogies to natural history, and extended similes.
euphuism An elegant Elizabethan literary style marked by excessive use of balance, antithesis, and alliteration and by frequent use of similes drawn from mythology and nature.
That ideal was based on his practive of euphuism, a scholarly method of writing for scholarly readers.
There is little plot in either romance; the interest lies chiefly in long philosophic discussions and in the elaborate and affected style that gave rise to the terms euphuism and euphuist.
Of these, Rosalynde is a dramatically plotted tale combining Senecan motives with the artifice of euphuism and Arcadian romance.
Preciosity in France was eventually carried to excess and led to exaggeration and affectation (particularly as reflected in burlesque writers), as it did in other countries--seen, for example, in such movements as gongorismo in Spain, Marinism in Italy, and euphuism in England.
It had counterparts in the Marinism of Italy (see Giambattista Marino ) and the euphuism of England.
Considered by some to be the best of the imitators of Lyly and the Euphuistic style (see euphuism ), Lodge wrote several prose romances, including Rosalynde, Euphues ' Golden Legacie (printed 1590), his most famous work, which provided Shakespeare with the plot for As You Like It.
It was widely imitated for many years, notably by Robert Greene and Thomas Lodge, and has come to be known as euphuistic (see Euphues; euphuism ).