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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 was once the results of a life-long force for recognition.

Taken out of Westminster tuition opposed to his will to help his brick-layer step-father, Jonson compensated by means of analyzing so largely within the classics that he may possibly brag ‘he was once higher versed and knew extra in Greek and Latin than the entire 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 warfare 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 integrated Jonson’s vein of humours satire into his personal romantic comedy.

In his later years, his own magnetism accrued 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 one of the best, most-frequently anthologized comedies of the Jacobean interval.

His artistic 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 through the Cavalier poets.

The booklet in 1616 of his literary Works gave new dignity to stage-plays and encouraged Shakespeare’s fellows to gather his comedies, tragedies, and histories into the 1623 Folio version.

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 a variety of works, making an impression so nice that we nonetheless revere him at the present time.

Ben Jonson: A Literary Life re-evaluates the impulses in the back of Jonson’s literary lifestyles and gives new facts approximately his inventive transformation of Elizabethan dramatic versions, delivering insights no longer on hand in different studies.

compliment for Ben Jonson: A Literary lifestyles

‘This stands out as the first publication to suggest to an clever scholar 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 college of Illinois and is understood for his in-depth and engrossing paintings.

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