Ben Jonson  

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"If poets may be divided into two exhaustive but not exclusive classes, — the gods of harmony and creation, the giants of energy and invention, — the supremacy of Shakespeare among the gods of English verse is not more unquestionable than the supremacy of Jonson among its giants."--A Study of Ben Jonson (1889) by Algernon Charles Swinburne


Doing a filthy pleasure is, and short,
And done, we straight repent us of the sport.

--Ben Jonson translation of "Foeda est in coitu et brevis voluptas" by Petronius

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Benjamin Jonson (c. 11 June 1572 – c. 16 August 1637) was an English playwright and poet, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours. He is best known for the satirical plays Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone, or The Fox (c. 1606), The Alchemist (1610) and Bartholomew Fair (1614) and for his lyric and epigrammatic poetry. "He is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, after William Shakespeare, during the reign of James I."

Jonson was a classically educated, well-read and cultured man of the English Renaissance with an appetite for controversy (personal and political, artistic and intellectual) whose cultural influence was of unparalleled breadth upon the playwrights and the poets of the Jacobean era (1603–1625) and of the Caroline era (1625–1642).

A Study of Ben Jonson (London, 1889) is a text by Algernon Charles Swinburne on Ben Jonson’s scatological epigrams.

Contents

Jonson's works

Plays

Masques

Other works

  • Epigrams (1612)
  • The Forest (1616), including To Penshurst
  • On My First Sonne (1616), elegy
  • A Discourse of Love (1618)
  • Barclay's Argenis, translated by Jonson (1623)
  • The Execration against Vulcan (1640)
  • Horace's Art of Poetry, translated by Jonson (1640), with a commendatory verse by Edward Herbert
  • Underwood (1640)
  • English Grammar (1640)
  • Timber, or Discoveries made upon men and matter, as they have flowed out of his daily readings, or had their reflux to his peculiar notion of the times, (London, 1641) a commonplace book
  • To Celia (Drink to Me Only With Thine Eyes), poem

It is in Jonson's Timber, or Discoveries... that he famously quipped on the manner in which language became a measure of the speaker or writer:

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As with other English Renaissance dramatists, a portion of Ben Jonson's literary output has not survived. In addition to The Isle of Dogs (1597), the records suggest these lost plays as wholly or partially Jonson's work: Richard Crookback (1602); Hot Anger Soon Cold (1598), with Porter and Henry Chettle; Page of Plymouth (1599), with Dekker; and Robert II, King of Scots (1599), with Chettle and Dekker. Several of Jonson's masques and entertainments also are not extant: The Entertainment at Merchant Taylors (1607); The Entertainment at Salisbury House for James I (1608); and The May Lord (1613–19).

Finally, there are questionable or borderline attributions. Jonson may have had a hand in Rollo, Duke of Normandy, or The Bloody Brother, a play in the canon of John Fletcher and his collaborators. The comedy The Widow was printed in 1652 as the work of Thomas Middleton, Fletcher and Jonson, though scholars have been intensely sceptical about Jonson's presence in the play. A few attributions of anonymous plays, such as The London Prodigal, have been ventured by individual researchers, but have met with cool responses.<ref>Logan and Smith, pp. 82–92</ref>





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ben Jonson" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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