Jonson’s ‘Comical Satires’ and the Art of Courtly Compliment

  • Janet Clare

Abstract

Accompanying the 1607 quarto of Volpone is a wealth of paratextual material which includes Jonson’s dedication and lengthy epistle to ‘the most noble and most equal sisters, the two famous universities’, together with commendatory poems from fellow writers, Donne, Beaumont, Chapman, and from influential friends and patrons, Dudley Digges and Esme Stuart. The recurrent note is Jonson’s classicism. The verse panegyric of the musician Edmund Bolton, which was later to preface the Works of 1616, proclaims Jonson as the first to study Greek antiquities and the monuments of the Roman theatre. Donne praises Jonson as a singular follower of the ancients who is yet an innovator, while Beaumont credits him with introducing a classic comic style hitherto unknown to the English stage.

Keywords

Mercury Assimilation Posit Dition Defend 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See Janet Clare, Art Made Tongue-Tied by Authority: Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship ( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990 ), pp. 51–5.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    See Richard A. McCabe, ‘Elizabethan Satire and the Bishops’ Ban of 1599’, Yearbook of English Studies, 11 (1981), 188–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 5.
    Richard Dutton, Ben Jonson: To the First Folio ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983 ), p. 41.Google Scholar
  4. 12.
    See Helen Hackett, Virgin Mother, Maiden Queen: Elizabeth I and the Cult of the Virgin Mary ( Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1995 ), pp. 78–88.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    Philippa Berry, Of Chastity and Power: Elizabethan Literature and the Unmarried Queen ( London: Routledge, 1989 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 18.
    See Christopher Haigh, Elizabeth I ( London: Longman, 1988 ), pp. 92–6.Google Scholar
  7. 20.
    See Louis Adrian Montrose, ‘Eliza, Queene of Shepheardes and the Pastoral of Power’, English Literary Renaissance, 10 (1980), 153–82, (p.164).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 22.
    Ben Jonson, Poetaster, ed. by Tom Cain (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), Introduction p. 14. All quotations from the play and from the ‘Apologetical Dialogue’ are from this edition.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    John Dryden, ‘Of Dramatic Poesy: An Essay’ (1668), in Of Dramatic Poesy and Other Critical Essays, ed. by George Watson, 2 vols (London: Dent, 1962), I, p. 62.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Clare

There are no affiliations available

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