By James Loxley

ISBN-10: 0203996798

ISBN-13: 9780203996799

ISBN-10: 0415222273

ISBN-13: 9780415222273

This quantity bargains the broadest diversity of data on Jonson and his works, from history on contexts to information of modern interpretations of his performs.

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Extra resources for Ben Jonson: A Sourcebook (Complete Critical Guide to English Literature)

Sample text

He probably carried it for the rest of his life; its existence adds a peculiar resonance to those moments when Jonson evokes such judicial inscription as an analogue for his own poetic endeavour [50, 69]. But his release was not to be the end of his difficulties. The confiscation of his goods had left him and his family penniless, and the writing in which he engaged during 1599 clearly did not bring in enough money. It is possible that the series of back payments to the Bricklayers’ Company made at this time mean that he actually returned to the practice of his other craft; he was certainly forced to borrow money.

The fact that James’s cousin, Lady Arbella Stuart, took offence at a possibly unwise allusion to her personal circumstances in the former play did not hinder Jonson’s progress: he secured a commission to provide the Speeches at Prince Henry’s Barriers, an entertainment to accompany the feats of arms performed by the young Prince, heir to the throne, at Twelfth Night celebrations in 1610. Once again, a delicate balancing of political interests was called for, and evidently delivered. Jonson managed to reconcile Henry’s identification with an aggressive, patriotic Protestantism with the King’s own pursuit of a more pacific foreign policy, tactfully accommodating such differences in a work celebrating Henry’s forthcoming investiture as Prince of Wales.

The judicial response was harsh: the printed edition was censored, and Jonson and Chapman were thrown into jail. Both penned anxious letters to courtiers and patrons who might intervene to forestall any further punishment. Jonson felt able to address his suit to Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk, a relative of his erstwhile accuser, as well as to both Cecil (now Lord Salisbury) and Pembroke, which demonstrates that his network of patrons was by then not only quite extensive but also crossed factional boundaries.

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Ben Jonson: A Sourcebook (Complete Critical Guide to English Literature) by James Loxley


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