Ben Jonson, John Marston and Early Modern Drama

Satire and the Audience

  • Rebecca Yearling

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Rebecca Yearling
    Pages 1-11
  3. Rebecca Yearling
    Pages 12-17
  4. Rebecca Yearling
    Pages 18-41
  5. Rebecca Yearling
    Pages 42-66
  6. Rebecca Yearling
    Pages 67-128
  7. Rebecca Yearling
    Pages 161-165
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 166-223

About this book


This book examines the influence of John Marston, typically seen as a minor figure among early modern dramatists, on his colleague Ben Jonson. While Marston is usually famed more for his very public rivalry with Jonson than for the quality of his plays, this book argues that such a view of Marston seriously underestimates his importance to the theatre of his time. In it, the author contends that Marston's plays represent an experiment in a new kind of satiric drama, with origins in the humanist tradition of serio ludere. His works—deliberately unpredictable, inconsistent and metatheatrical—subvert theatrical conventions and provide confusingly multiple perspectives on the action, forcing their spectators to engage actively with the drama and the moral dilemmas that it presents. The book argues that Marston's work thus anticipates and perhaps influenced the mid-period work of Ben Jonson, in plays such as Sejanus, Volpone and The Alchemist.


Jonson Marston early modern drama satire audience Renaissance theatre spectators Britain dramatist history history of literature literature theatre history

Authors and affiliations

  • Rebecca Yearling
    • 1
  1. 1.Keele UniversityUK

Bibliographic information