Sederi Yearbook 24

Sederi 24
Sederi 24 — 2014
Berta Cano Echevarría & Ana Sáez-Hidalgo
Francisco J. Borge López
ISSN 1135-7789


Jonathan P. A. Sell, ’Warts and all’: John Lyly’s atheist aesthetics.” SEDERI 24 (2014): 95-118.


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This paper finds some evidence of an atomist aesthetic in certain passages of John Lyly’s Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit. It then addresses the issue of how Lyly might have become acquainted with atomist philosophy and, in particular, the thought of Empedocles, whether through his reading or his membership of the Oxford circle. Finally, by showing how Lyly’s early play Campaspe combines his aesthetic views and atomist controversy, the paper confirms the reasonableness of its initial proposition and opens the way not only for a reassessment of Lyly and his works but also for a reappraisal of the baroque in early modern English literature and for a revision of standard accounts of the origins of English atomism.

Keywords: John Lyly; atomism; aesthetics; Empedocles; Euphues. The Anatomy of Wit; Campaspe.




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