Ben Jonson is among the greatest writiers and theorists of English Literature. A prolific Elizabethan dramatist and a man of letters highly learned inthe classics, he profoundly influenced the coming Augustan age through his emphasis on the precepts of Horace, Aristotle, and other early thinkers. While he is now remembered primarily for his satirical comedies, he also distinguished himself as a poet, preeminent writer of masques, edudite defender of his work, and the originator of English literary criticism. Jonson's professional reputation is often obscured by that of the man himself: bold, independent, aggressive, fashioning for himself an image as the sole arbiter of taste, standing for erudition and the supremacy of classical models against what he percieved as the general populace's ingorant prefence for the sensational. While his direct influence can be sen in each genre that he undertook, his ultimate influence is considered to be a legacy of literary craftsmanship, a strong sense of artistic form and control, and his role in bringing, as Alexander Pope noted, "critical learning into vogue."
Excerpted from Drama Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 4. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994. p222-294.
Call Number: PR2631 .D66 2011 and Electronic resource
Ian Donaldson's new biography draws on freshly discovered writings by and about Ben Jonson, and locates his work within the social and intellectual contexts of his time. Donaldson depicts a life full of drama. Jonson's early satirical play, The Isle of Dogs, landed him in prison, and brought all theatrical activity in London to a temporary--and very nearly permanent--standstill. He was "almost at the gallows" for killing a fellow actor after a quarrel, and converted to Catholicism while awaiting execution. He supped with the Gunpowder conspirators on the eve of their planned coup at Westminster. After satirizing the Scots in Eastward Ho! he was imprisoned again, and throughout his career was repeatedly interrogated about plays and poems thought to contain seditious or slanderous material. Throughout this lively biography, Donaldson provides the fullest picture available of Jonson's personal, political, spiritual, and intellectual interests, and he insightfully discusses all of Jonson's major poetry and drama, plus some newly discovered works.
While most critical writing on Jonson concentrates on the plays, poems or masques seen in isolation, this title, first published in 1981, ranges across the genres to explore Jonson's vision as a whole. The author points to the inner connections that make of the rich variety of Jonson's writing a single coherent body of work. We see Jonson exploring the relations between culture and society, the difficulties of ideal virtue in a far from ideal world, and above all the problems of art itself. Combining a wide-ranging discussion of Jonson's interests with a detailed examination of his major works, this book provides a balanced critical introduction to one of the most complex and fascinating figures in English Literature.
Call Number: PR2631 .C35 2000 and Electronic resource
Ben Jonson is, in many ways, the figure of greatest centrality to literary study of the Elizabethan and Jacobean period. He wrote in virtually every literary genre: in drama, comedy, tragedy and masque; in poetry, epigram, and lyric; in prose, literary criticism and English grammar. This Companion brings together leading scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to provide an accessible, up-to-date introduction to Jonson's life and works. It represents an invaluable guide to current critical perspectives, providing generous coverage not only of his plays but also his non dramatic works.
Ben Jonson, Shakespeare's slightly younger contemporary, is the earliest English author who left behind enough evidence to make a literary biography possible. Not that the evidence is, by modern standards, voluminous. We do not know for certain when Jonson was born, who his father was or how long he went to school. His relationships with patrons and fellow writers are obscure, and his conduct was sometimes so reckless as to defy rational explanation. His determined efforts to fashion a persona only make his personality murkier. On paper, he was both a champion of morality and a venturer into the near neighborhood of pornography. David Riggs' thorough biography emphasizes Jonson's contradictions.
Call Number: PR2642.P63 P47 2011 and Electronic resource
Richard Peterson offered an important revaluation of the poetry of Ben Jonson and a new appreciation of the way in which the classical doctrine of imitation - the creative use of the thoughts and words of predecessors - permeates and shapes Jonson's critical ideas and his work as a whole. The publication of the original book in 1981 led to a reinterpretation of the poems and a coherent view of Jonson's philosophy; the resulting portrait of Johnson served as a corrective to earlier views based primarily on the satiric poems and plays.
Established and emergent Jonson scholars react to major new advances in thinking about the writer and his canon of works. Generously illustrated throughout, the first part of the volume considers Jonson's career from biographical, critical, and performance-based angles; the second looks at cultural and historical contexts.
Call Number: PR2631 .K39 1995 and Electronic resource
This concise biography surveys Jonson's career and provides an introduction to his works in the context of Jacobean politics, court patronage and his many literary rivalries. Stressing his wit and inventiveness, it explores the strategies by which he attempted to maintain his independence from the conditions of theatrical production and from his patrons and introduces new evidence that, despite his vaunted classicism, he repeatedly appropriated the matter or forms of other English writers in order to demonstrate his own artistic superiority.
The influence of the Roman poet Horace on Ben Jonson has often been acknowledged, but never fully explored. Discussing Jonson's Horatianism in detail, this study also places Jonson's densely intertextual relationship with Horace's Latin text within the broader context of his complex negotiations with a range of other 'rivals' to the Horatian model including Pindar, Seneca, Juvenal and Martial. The new reading of Jonson's classicism that emerges is one founded not upon static imitation, but rather a lively dialogue between competing models - an allusive mode that extends into the seventeenth-century reception of Jonson himself as a latter-day 'Horace'. In the course of this analysis, the book provides fresh readings of many of Jonson's best known poems - including 'Inviting a Friend to Dinner' and 'To Penshurst' - as well as a new perspective on many lesser known pieces, and a range of unpublished manuscript material.
Call Number: PR2642.P64 B46 2009 and Electronic resource
While Ben Jonson's political visions have been well documented, this is the first study to consider how he threaded his views into the various literary genres in which he wrote. For Jonson, these genres were interactive and mutually affirming, necessary for negotiating the tempestuous politics of early modern society, and here some of the most renowned Jonson scholars provide a collection of essays that discuss his use of genre. They present new perspectives on many of Jonson's major works, from his epigrams and epistles, through to his Roman tragedies and satirical plays like Volpone. Other topics examined include Jonson's diverse representations of monarchy, his ambiguous celebrations of European commonwealths, his sexual politics, and his engagement with the issues of republicanism. These essays represent the forefront of critical thinking on Ben Jonson, and offer a timely reassessment of the author's political life in Jacobean and Caroline Britain.
Call Number: PR2634 .M37 2008 and Electronic resource
In this thought-provoking study Mardock looks at Ben Jonson's epigrams, prose, and verse satire in order to focus on Jonson's theatrical appropriations of London space both in and out of the playhouse. Through this critical analysis, the author argues that the strategies of authorial definition that Jonson pursued throughout his career as a poet and playwright were in large part determined by two intersecting factors: first, his complicated relationship with London's physical places and its institutional topography, and secondly--challenging commonplace assumptions about Jonson's anti-theatricality--the distinctly theatrical model of spatial practice that he brought to bear on his representation of the urban experience.