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Ben Jonson: A Life


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Table of Contents

List of illustrations Note on texts and dating 1: Prologue: The Biographer's Bones 2: Scotland 1618-1619 3: Debatable Land 1542-1572 4: Influences 1572-1588 5: Conflicts 1588-1592 6: Entering the Theatre 1594-1597 7: Saved by the Book 1597-1598 8: Global Satire 1598-1601 9: The Wolf's Black Jaw 1601-1603 10: Scots, Plots, and Panegyrics 1603-1605 11: Following the Plot 1606-7 12: Communities 1607-1612 13: City, Theatre, Court 1610-1612 14: Travels 1611-1613 15: Fame 1613-1616 16: Money 1614-1617 17: Scholarship 1619-1630 18: Lateness 1619-1637 19: Remembrance with Posterity Acknowledgements

About the Author

Ian Donaldson is a General Editor, with David Bevington and Martin Butler, of The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson (Print Edition, 7 volumes, 2011; Electronic Edition, 2012). 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). He has taught at the Universities of Oxford (tutorial Fellow in English at Wadham College, 1962-9), Edinburgh (Regius Professor of English, 1991-5), and Cambridge (Fellow of King's College, 1995-2005, and Grace 1 Professor of English, 1995-2001), and at the Australian National University, Canberra (Professor of English, 1969-91). He was founding Director of the ANU's Humanities Research Centre (1974-90, 2004-7) and of Cambridge University's Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH, 2001-3).


`Donaldson proves singularly capable of describing how key relationships in Jonson's life altered his tonal and thematic development as a writer.' Essays in Criticism `the definitive life of Jonson, and one of the best literary biographies written in any era.' R.S. White, Parergon `Donaldson's masterly examination of Jonson's life and works ... an exemplary biography that is highly recommended reading.' Geoff Hiller, Melbourne Club `this is a major book to own and read and re-read to understand the lateral riches and remarkable variety of the greatest period of English drama.' Professor Stephen Knight `marvelous ... a towering achievement' Kevin Hart, Los Angeles Review of Books `a ground breaking piece of scholarship ... this study will be a wlcome addition to the book shelves of students throughout the English speaking world.' Ian Lipke, Media-Culture Reviews `[an] excellant new biography ... both scholarly and readable' Lev Myshkin, The Global Dispatches `This new study is essential for academic collections and for readers wishing to seriously extend beyond Shakespeare their knowledge of this literary era.' T.L. Cooksey, Library Journal `Donaldson's long-awaited biography will be an important resource for Jonson scholars' Jennifer Brady, Renaissance Quarterly `an indispensable account of Jonson's life and milieu.' Paul Hammond, The Seventeenth Century `[a] superb new biography ... rich and readable' Neil Rhodes `Donaldson's indefatigable attention to the social, political, and intellectual dimensions of Jonson's world has resulted in an extremely readable and carefully sifted account of his life and career that is unlikely to be surpassed.' William E. Engel `Review from previous edition At last we have a biography worthy of the richness and complexity of Jonson's life, with all its concealments and ambivalences. This book illuminates the man, the huge range of his writings, and the extraordinary events through which he lived and about which he provided such carefully coded commentaries.' JOHN MORRILL FBA, Professor of British and Irish History, University of Cambridge `A rare and valuable achievement. Elegant in style, flexible in approach, and characterised by a tone of intelligent curiosity, it is engaging as well as definitive.' Lisa Gorton, Australian Book Review `Deeply researched but happily readable.' New York Review of Books `absorbing biography' New Statesman `fascinating portrait...brilliant biography' Daily Telegraph `authoritative and lucid biography' Sunday Telegraph `definitive biography of this quarrelsome playwright.' Sunday Times `The biographical material on Jonson is extraordinarily rich...Donaldson's fine book is stocked with new material' The Guardian `exemplary new in detail and insights' The Guardian `a work of clarity and lucidity, exact in its historical detail, full of new material and ingeniously suggestive in its conjecture and interpretation.' Sam Leith, Spectator `Donaldson is ideally placed to write the definitive life, and he has done so.' John Carey, Sunday Times `Ian Donaldson has written a splendid life of this extraordinary man, which all claimants to the "tribe of Ben" will savor and prize.' The Weekly Standard `A learned biography, it cuts a revealing section through the Jacobean Age.' Michael Alexander, The Tablet `His deep involvement with Jonson scholarship and criticism ... is apparent on every page of his authoritative, elegantly written, and illuminatingly illustrated biography.' Stanley Wells, New York Review of Books ` of the best literary biographies written in any era.' R.S White, Parergon.

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