Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the Style of Lyly


Below is a page-length of Euphuistic prose I'm writing for a Prose Styles class assignment. I'm not quite there with the antithesis and endless lists that say the same thing a hundred ways, but I'll keep editing this until it's Lyly all the way. This version was after reading Euphues on my own, but after class discussion and reading Shakespeare's parodies of this stuff (which are really exactly copied from this stuff -- you don't need to exaggerate it to see how ridiculous it is), I think I understand the style a little better. I don't understand, however, why such a style became a fad -- Shakespeare made fun of it because it had become the 16th century equivalent of Valley Girl talk.

(And after looking at this book cover, I have decided I am going to call myself not "M.A." upon confirmation of this next degree, but forever and always, "Mafter of Arte.")

Anatomy of Appetite

There came bumbling along the avenue a boy of not more than ten, a boy of more heft than health and yet of more health than holiness, thinking the town his grazing grounds and his watering hole, so that he spent these daily walks sniffing the air for familiar wafts – charbroiled burgers, fried chips, fragrant rotisserie chickens; and, if it were Friday, the sweet olfactory evidence of a pig roast. It was whispered that the boy’s mother, whose cooking was worse than her looks, and yet whose looks were better than her maternal judgment, and who had not been seen with a husband in ten years (was not the boy nearly ten?), would send him out of house to procure whatever dishes and dainties his tremendous appetite required, two twenty dollar bills his ticket to more than mere sustenance; a suburban avenue, with all its light-up signs and fast service foods and barbeque joints, his means to a greasy, dripping end.
Preferring meat before sweet (yet still fond of sweet meats) the boy had only to select this evening’s protein; after supper he would loiter in the 7-11, ogling shelves of chocolate things, chocolate-filled things, chocolate-covered things. Finding the pig roast as the fly finds honey or a dirty diaper, and landing upon a plate of flesh without so much grace as the fly, and yet creating a scene just as revolting, the boy devoured hock, nibbled feet, chewed upon pulled pork sandwich. He paid with his wadded bills and took his leave and his change for the shelves of candies, his only care now to select the most winning combination of chocolates and nougats, chiclets and nutbars, that could be afforded for nine dollars and twenty-seven cents. He loved a candy coating; for as the Reese’s cup has its chocolate shell, the M&M its colorful sugary jacket, the gum drop its sweet crystalline glaze -- he himself had none.

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