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by Ian Donaldson

eBook Ben Jonson: A Life download ISBN: 0199697477
Author: Ian Donaldson
Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (July 1, 2013)
Language: English
Pages: 512
ePub: 1118 kb
Fb2: 1266 kb
Rating: 4.6
Other formats: doc mobi docx azw
Category: Literature
Subcategory: History and Criticism

Ian Donaldson considers all the evidence at hand to reconstruct the life of Ben Jonson and the age, its politics, its .

Ian Donaldson considers all the evidence at hand to reconstruct the life of Ben Jonson and the age, its politics, its dangers, and its poetry, masques, and plays as Elizabeth I is in her last years and as James VI and I consolidates his authority. I have only started reading parts of Donaldson's book, but it appears mostly of high quality so far. It will have a place on my shelf right next to David Riggs's earlier Jonson biography, amongst my other books on Shakespeare and Elizabethan life and literature generally.

Ben Jonson was a big man. In his hungry early years as a bricklayer, soldier and actor he was tall and lean – a. .This turbulent comic genius strides splendidly through the pages of Ian Donaldson's exemplary new biography

Ben Jonson was a big man. In his hungry early years as a bricklayer, soldier and actor he was tall and lean – a "hollow-cheeked scrag", Thomas Dekker called him – but by middle age the celebrated playwright and poet had swelled to corpulence on the free dinners of patronage and gargantuan quantities of sweet Canary wine. This turbulent comic genius strides splendidly through the pages of Ian Donaldson's exemplary new biography.

бесплатно, без регистрации и без смс. Ben Jonson was the greatest of Shakespeare's contemporaries. In the century following his death he was seen by many as the finest of all English writers, living or dead. His fame rested not only on the numerous plays he had written for the theatre, but on his achievements over three decades as principal masque-writer to the early Stuart court, where he had worked in creative, and often stormy, collaboration with Inigo Jones. One of the most accomplished poets ofthe age, he had become - in fact if not in title - the first Poet Laureate in England.

His previous OUP books include The World Upside-Down: Comedy From Jonson to Fielding (1970), Ben Jonson: Selected Works (Oxford Authors, 1985), Jonson's Magic Houses: Essays in Interpretation (OUP, 1997).

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

Benjamin Jonson (c. 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.

Ian Donaldson's new biography draws on freshly discovered writings by and about Jonson to provide a vivid depiction of.

Ian Donaldson's new biography draws on freshly discovered writings by and about Jonson to provide a vivid depiction of his remarkable life. His previous OUP books include The World Upside-Down: Comedy From Jonson to Fielding (1970), Ben Jonson: Selected Works (Oxford Authors, 1985), Jonson's Magic Houses: Essays in Interpretation (OUP, 1997).

Ben Jonson had supper with some of the conspirators in the Gunpowder plot (Bridgeman). This is almost the only piece of knowledge about Jonson that is omitted from Ian Donaldson’s authoritative. In 1618, Ben Jonson walked from London to Scotland for a bet. He was 46, and grossly overweight, so did not hurry, reaching Edinburgh in two months and 10 days. While there he met the Scottish poet William Drummond, who made notes on the great man’s conversation.

Ian Donaldson’s most popular book is Ben Jonson: A Life. Showing 16 distinct works. Ben Jonson: A Life by. Ian Donaldson.

Ben Jonson was the greatest of Shakespeare's contemporaries. His fame rests not only on the numerous plays he had written, but on his achievements over three decades as principal masque-writer to the early Stuart court, where he had worked in creative, if at times stormy, collaboration with Inigo Jones. One of the most accomplished poets of the age, he was--in fact if not in title--the first Poet Laureate in England. Ian Donaldson's new biography draws on freshly discovered writings by and about Ben Jonson, and locates his work within the social and intellectual contexts of his time. Donaldson depicts a life full of drama. Jonson's early satirical play, The Isle of Dogs, landed him in prison, and brought all theatrical activity in London to a temporary--and very nearly permanent--standstill. He was "almost at the gallows" for killing a fellow actor after a quarrel, and converted to Catholicism while awaiting execution. He supped with the Gunpowder conspirators on the eve of their planned coup at Westminster. After satirizing the Scots in Eastward Ho! he was imprisoned again, and throughout his career was repeatedly interrogated about plays and poems thought to contain seditious or slanderous material. Throughout this lively biography, Donaldson provides the fullest picture available of Jonson's personal, political, spiritual, and intellectual interests, and he insightfully discusses all of Jonson's major poetry and drama, plus some newly discovered works. Jonson emerges from this study as a more complex and volatile character than previously depicted, and as a writer whose work strikingly foresees the modern age.
Comments: (7)
Ance
Ian Donaldson considers all the evidence at hand to reconstruct the life of Ben Jonson and the age, its politics, its dangers, and its poetry, masques, and plays as Elizabeth I is in her last years and as James VI and I consolidates his authority. Well constructed, the book begins with Jonson's walking tour to Scotland from London in middle age and moves back to birth and forward chronologically to his death. Anyone interested in this contemporary of Bacon and Donne and Shakespeare should read this well-written book.
Fenritaur
Any serious student of Ben Jonson must at least read (if not own) a copy of this book. Well written and extensively documented by an eminent critic, it contains the latest in scholarship. Donaldson weaves a rich fabric of biography and literary achievement, clearly substantiating Jonson's place as the major figure of his time.
Saithi
A very readable and engaging scholarly account. Just what I expected and hoped for.
Eyalanev
I found the book very interesting, but I like Tudor civilization and have read many books on Shakespeare and his times, so this was a nice compliment. Some parts get a bit tedious, but then there are some gems, so well worth reading the whole book.
Dominator
Donaldson is Jonson's editor in the new Oxford edition and it shows in his complete knowledge of the man and times. New material re a hiking trip took from London to Edinburgh has emerged lately and a description of it is included in the text.. I've seen a good production of the Alchemist recently and ordered a DVD of Volpone to watch and boned up on some of the poetry to go with this read, so I feel I got a good deal out of it.

Jonson's life was amazingly eventful: drinker, intellectual, fighter, killer...these Elizabethians seem to have led some pretty exciting lives. Frankly - besides Shakespear - there are a few of his contemporaries whose work I enjoy more, Marlowe, for one, but I really have to admire the life accomplishments of Jonson. His constant thin-ice skating politically and religiously shows him to be fearless. His editing of Shakespear and remarks on the writing of his times show his critical skills and intellectual skills. Donaldson's bio is for the serious reader, however. The section of illustrations in color is quite nice, the index is full and complete and there's a detailed bibliography. If you go for this period, you'll need this as a reference in your library.
Beardana
A detailed and mostly interesting biography with lots of references to follow up. Heavy on the political and sociocultural context for the poet's life.
blac wolf
Ian Donaldson's 2011 biography appears, as other reviews have noted, to be the most thorough one-volume study yet of Ben Jonson, an Elizabethan-Jacobean playwright utterly overshadowed today by Shakespeare, but very highly regarded in his own time. I have only started reading parts of Donaldson's book, but it appears mostly of high quality so far. It will have a place on my shelf right next to David Riggs's earlier Jonson biography, amongst my other books on Shakespeare and Elizabethan life and literature generally.

Riggs, disappointingly, devoted only the most minimal attention to Jonson's editing of the First Folio in 1623, collecting most of the plays published under the name "William Shakespeare" (sometimes spelled "Shake-Speare"; and often published anonymously before the Folio).

Donaldson pays better attention to Jonson's role in the Folio, though still devotes only about six pages out of 533 to the issue (pp. 370-76 in the hardcover). Really? Barely more than 1% of a biography on Jonson's obviously central role in the editing and publication of one of the 2 or 3 greatest books ever published in human history?

Granted, there is an enormous amount we don't know about the Folio and Jonson's role. We are certainly in the realm of speculation and inference there, to a very large extent. A biography must understandably focus on the documentary evidence we have.

But it's disappointing that Donaldson opens his discussion by taking at face value the Folio's own (extremely dubious) claim that it was "edited by the two surviving members of the original company of the Lord Chamberlain's Men established in 1594: John Heminges and Henry Condell." (p. 370)

And I must call out Donaldson on his irritating (and unintentionally funny) swipe at Shakespeare authorship skeptics. (More on that below. Sidenote: How hilarious is it that the Heythrop Journal, in a review quoted here on Amazon, states that Donaldson "has so well succeeded - as no author of Shakespeare's life has ever succeeded - in entering into the mind of his poet." Hmm, well, yeah, that would probably be because the sparse documented facts of the life of William Shakspere [sic] of Stratford-upon-Avon, unlike Jonson's ample literary paper trail, provide hardly any basis whatsoever to link Shakspere of Stratford to any kind of literary activity at all!)

Even many orthodox Shakespeare scholars, since as far back as the 18th century, have rejected the implausible idea that the two named actors, rather than Jonson himself, actually assembled and edited the Folio. Donaldson concedes that Heminges and Condell must at least have "consulted with Jonson" and that Jonson's "stamp" is "clearly apparent in the 1623 Folio." (pp. 370-71)

But Donaldson inexplicably claims that at least part of the preface over Heminges and Condell's names "is indisputably the work of Heminges and Condell themselves" (p. 371) (while proceeding to concede that many other passages in the preface bear an uncanny resemblance to Jonson's writings, pp. 371-74). On what basis is that "indisputable"? Donaldson does not explain, except to suggest that Jonson later wrote something possibly at some variance with part of the preface. So writers never contradict themselves? Or write with different motivations or in different capacities at different times? It's not even clear that what Jonson later wrote did contradict what the preface said about "Shakespeare" never blotting his lines; he seems to have simply offered a different perspective on that later.

Perhaps whatever Jonson wrote in editing the Folio should be viewed through the lens of his apparent capacity as a hired gun for the two noblemen (William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, and Philip Herbert, Earl of Montgomery) to whom the Folio was prominently dedicated and who thus probably financed and sponsored it.

Donaldson discusses both of the Herbert brothers elsewhere in the book, but never once in connection with the Folio on pp. 370-76. That seems odd. Philip Herbert, by the way, was the son-in-law of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford (1550-1604), regarded by many thoughtful people for almost a century now as the likely author of the works of "Shakespeare" based on a vast web of compelling circumstantial evidence. Philip's brother William was at one time courted as a potential husband for another of de Vere's daughters. The first of the three famous dedicatees of published works by "Shakespeare" (see "Venus and Adonis" and "Rape of Lucrece" in 1593-94), Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, was also courted as a potential husband to yet a third de Vere daughter! (And seems to have been the addressee of Shakespearean sonnets urging him to marry.) Coincidence? Possibly, but "Oxfordians" think not. There are too many other "coincidences."

This is not the place to belabor the authorship issue at length, and I understand if Donaldson wished to steer clear of it.

But really, he makes a fool of himself when he claims that Jonson, in his poem "To the Reader" at the outset of the Folio (opposite the bizarre Droeshout portrait, which Donaldson concedes is "ungainly"), "vouch[es] for the fact ... that the person depicted was indeed responsible for the works presented ...." Yes, Jonson's poem does state (in part, the only part Donaldson quotes in his text) that Droeshout's engraving was "for gentle Shakespeare cut."

Donaldson claims this is "to the lasting confusion of those wishing to propose an alternative authorship." (p. 371)

Thank you for your concern, Mr. Donaldson, but we Oxfordians (and other authorship skeptics) have never been "confused" by the Folio or its opening poem (at least, not any more than orthodox readers have been). Everyone should be somewhat confused by Jonson's evasive double-talk and apparent multiple layers of meaning.

Rather, we have been *intrigued* by the Folio's prefatory material, since (even as it constitutes one of the few, and almost entirely posthumous, grounds which Stratfordians can claim for their authorship attribution), it contains many of the most intriguing hints and indications that there is something very fishy indeed about the orthodox Stratfordian theory of Shakespeare's authorship.

To give Donaldson credit, he does reproduce the full facsimile text of the opening poem on his next page (372). Leave aside the fact that "gentle" was a term generally used to refer to the nobility, not an upwardly mobile commoner like Shakspere of Stratford. And the fact that strictly speaking, when Jonson says the Droeshout engraving was cut "for ... Shakespeare," that begs the question of who "Shakespeare" (the true author) was, and whether Jonson was engaging in a bit of multi-layered doubletalk here as elsewhere. Since there are no other reliably identified images of Shakspere of Stratford, we really have no idea whom the Folio engraving depicts (if any real person). Elsewhere in the Folio, there are two brief, vague, and widely separated references to the author as "sweet Swan of Avon" and to his "Stratford moniment"; "William Shakespeare" is also listed as someone who allegedly acted in the plays; no other references are made to any facts or dates of his life.

Why not just state clearly and straightforwardly that the author was an actor and businessman from Stratford-upon-Avon who was born in 1564 and died in 1616? (By the way, there was a deafening lack of mourning, commentary, or even notice, the length and breadth of Britain, when he died in 1616.)

The noted British author Alexander Waugh has recently published an analysis arguing that "Avon" could easily be read to refer to Hampton Court on the Thames, where plays were performed in private for royalty and the nobility. I could go on, but you get the point.

Back to the opening poem: If you read it in full, you'll note that Jonson writes that Droeshout "had a strife with Nature to outdo the Life" (whatever that means).

Most importantly, as Donaldson most strikingly avoids commenting on, Jonson concludes his poem by flat-out telling anyone opening the Folio: "Reader, look not on his Picture but his Book." I.e., as the Wizard of Oz said, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

"Confusing" indeed!
I do not know of which kind of book the glowing reviews speak, for me THIS book was terribly dull and full of uninteresting minutiae. Compare with Alexander Pope: A Life by Maynard Mack, to know what I mean.