Lyly wrote eight elegant and refined comedies for the boy companies and for court performance. His witty and elaborate prose style, drawing many allusions from classical mythology, was honed in his prose romance, "Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit" (1578), and its sequel, "Euphues and His England" (1580). These works are the basis for the "euphuistic" style, characterized by an intensity of antithesis, alliteration, and simile. Lyly's comedies are notable for their graceful and incisive portraits of women.
R. W. Van Fossen is Professor of English at the University of Toronto