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

  • Janet Clare


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.


Influential Friend Character Vignette Roman Theatre Female Power Greek Antiquity 
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    See Janet Clare, Art Made Tongue-Tied by Authority: Elizabethan and Jacobean Dramatic Censorship ( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1990 ), pp. 51–5.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet Clare

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