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Ben Jonson, The English Playwright

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Anastasia Liu

on 21 March 2013

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Transcript of Ben Jonson, The English Playwright

Ben Jonson First literary dictator
First Poet Laureate
Father of cavalier poetry
Satirical comedian
Renaissance playwright
Classical dramatist
Fathered Three The Life of Ben Jonson (1537-1573) 1592 Birth 1572 Born in Westminster, London, England June 11th, 1572 (though some sources say early 1573)

Grandfather immigrated from Scotland

Father died a month before his birth Early Life Mother married bricklayer, Robert Brett (Jonson apprenticed)

Enrolled shortly in Westminster School (teacher: William Camden)
-"To him I owe all that I am in arts, all that I know;"

Enlisted as a soldier in his youth, served in Flanders (Dutch War of Independence)

Met William Drummond of Hawthornden

Changed "Johnson" to "Jonson" Returned from military service

Penniless 1594 Married Ann Lewis on November 14th (1594)
-"A shrew, yet honest"

Had Jonson's first son (1596), 3 kids total
-His "Best piece of poetry" 1599 War of the Theatres
(1599-1604) Involved Ben Jonson, John Marston, Thomas Dekker Works Histrio-mastix (Marston)
Every Man Out of His Humour (Jonson)
Jack Drum's Entertainment (Marston)
Cynthia's Revels (Jonson)
What You Will (Marston)
Poetaster (Jonson)
Satiro-mastix (Dekker)
The Malcontent (Marston) 1598 Every Man in his Favour First submitted to Lord Chamberlain's Company, refused
Accepted and performed by Shakespeare's Company
Shakespeare played Lorenzo di Pazzi Sr. (later "Old Kno'well") Death Match With Spencer Jonson killed Gabriel Spencer in Hogsden, an actor (coworker) under Henslowe
Jailed and forfeited, converted to Roman Catholicism by inmate
Would have been hanged, received a brand "T" for "Tyburn" on his left thumb 1596 1593 And Hence-lowe Starts the Real Drama Employed by Philip Henslowe, theatre troupe exploiter

Began dramatic career as actor (Admiral's Men)
-He "ambled in a leather pitch by a play-wagon" 1597 The Career is Altered The Case is Altered (Pembroke Men's Company), first extant comedy

Hot Anger Soon Cold (collaboration: Chettle and Porter) 1605 1616 Shakespeare's Death
Jonson made a folio of his works (innovation)
Appointed "Poet Laureate" (first), paid 100 marks annually
Became most popular dramatist of era
The Devil Is An Ass (unsuccessful comedy, next public work in 9 years)
Began focusing on masques The Devil Really is an Ass 1618 "Something Among the Scots" Granted reversion of 'Master of the Revels'
Jonson decides to follow ancestry, traveled to Scotland (Age 46)
Stayed with William Drummond
Stayed for a year (1618-1619) 1619 1637 Died August 6th, 1637
Buried in Westminster Abbey
-"O Rare Ben Johnson"
Sad Shepherd's Tale (unfinished) published 1641 1623 Hot Favour Soon Cold Library burned down

Eventually hit bottom

Lost favour of the court

Suffered strokes Volpone, or the Masterpiece Public Plays 1603 Controversial content

Tragedy: Sejanus, His Fall for views of authoritarianism

Satire: Eastward Hoe for "something against the Scots" (Jonson, Marston and Chapman) 1604 Benjonson, His Cell Best comedies written 1605-1614
Volpone, or the Fox (1605)
Epicoene: or, the Silent Woman (1609)
The Alchemist (1610)
Bartholomew Fair (1614) Court Masques The Satyr (1605)
Appointed Court Poet
Masque of Blacknesse (1605)
The Masque of Owles
Masque of Beauty (1608)
Masque of Queens (1609)
Collaborated with Inigo Jones Always was collector of books Later Life Appointed City Chronologer of London

Fathered Cavalier Poetry, meetings at Mermaid Tavern (Cheapside, London)
-Robert Herrick, Thomas Carew, Sir John Suckling, Richard Lovelace

Always compared to Horace

Suffered a fatal stroke O Rare Ben Johnson Written in 1598 LORENZO SENIOR.
PROSPERO.
THORELLO.
GIULIANO.
LORENZO JUNIOR.
STEPHANO.
DOCTOR CLEMENT.
BOBADILLA. HESPERIDA.
PETO.
MUSCO.
COB.
MATHEO.
PISO.
TIB. WHO SUMMARY Set in Hogsden
Father (Lorenzo/Knowell) intercepts letter intended for his son of the same name
Hires man (Musco/Brainworm) to spy but double-crosses him an every one else
Happy ending, Musco employed by Clement, reveals his meticulous fooling scheme

Employs all aspects of classic comedy The Humour They're In Funny names (Bobadillo)
Funny clothes (Giuliano)
Wordplay/puns (collar/choler)
Unrefined humours of the less disciplined (Stephano)
Everything tied up (Musco)
Satires on stereotypes (Lady Prospero)
Funny quirks (hawking) 2 4 7 11 13 15 16 18 18 21 22 1 3 5 6

8 9 14 19 20 12 10
Full transcript