By W. David Kay
discover the lifetime of a Legend…
As poet laureate on the court docket of King James the 1st, Ben Jonson’s literary luck used to be the results of a life-long force for recognition.
Taken out of Westminster college opposed to his will to aid his brick-layer step-father, Jonson compensated by means of interpreting so broadly within the classics that he may brag ‘he used to be higher versed and knew extra in Greek and Latin than all of the poets in England’.
Endowed with an out-sized, contentious character, he killed a fellow-actor in a duel, whereas his pointed satire and his self-representation because the English Horace initiated “the conflict of the Theatres” with playwrights John Marston and Thomas Dekker.
In his prologues, he carried on a playful, operating conflict together with his nice rival, Shakespeare, who included Jonson’s vein of humours satire into his personal romantic comedy.
In his later years, his own magnetism amassed round him a more youthful iteration of ‘Sons of Ben’ who indulged in wit-combats and wine on the Mermaid Tavern.
Jonson’s Volpone or The Fox, The Alchemistand Bartholomew Fair rank among the finest, most-frequently anthologized comedies of the Jacobean interval.
His creative court docket masques earned him a pension from King James.
His classically-inspired poems of compliment and blame initiated a brand new mode of ‘plain-style’ poetry imitated by means of the Cavalier poets.
The book in 1616 of his literary Works gave new dignity to stage-plays and encouraged Shakespeare’s fellows to assemble his comedies, tragedies, and histories into the 1623 Folio variation.
In the recovery interval, Jonson’s comedy Epicoene or The Silent Woman will be singled out by way of John Dryden as an early development for the comedy of wit.
Utilising his fascinating character, Jonson used to be in a position to provoke a broader viewers via his quite a few works, making an impression so nice that we nonetheless revere him this day.
Ben Jonson: A Literary Life re-evaluates the impulses in the back of Jonson’s literary lifestyles and gives new proof approximately his inventive transformation of Elizabethan dramatic versions, providing insights now not on hand in different studies.
compliment for Ben Jonson: A Literary lifestyles
‘This stands out as the first publication to suggest to an clever pupil drawn to Jonson's life.’ - Robert C. Evans
‘This is a sensible and mature book--one that attempts to do Jonson the justice of taking him whole.’ - Robert C. Evans
W. David Kay is an Emeritus Professor of English on the collage of Illinois and is understood for his in-depth and engrossing paintings.
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