"I would faine serve": John Lyly's Career at Court


Derek B. Alwes


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The most common assumption about John Lyly's court comedies has been that they embody an unproblematic celebration of Queen Elizabeth and her rule.1 Recent critics, however, have problematized such a reading by arguing that the apparent allusions to the queen are often remarkably unflattering.2 Nevertheless, most interpretations of the plays still rely largely on identifying (or as the Elizabethans would say, "deciphering") references to the queen, whether positive or negative, as the basis for an understanding of Lyly's "meaning." I would like to shift the focus somewhat by looking at the ways Lyly's plays reflect upon his own career at court: the ways Lyly uses his plays to represent himself and his relationship to Elizabeth and her court.

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