Jonson and the Contexts of His Time
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A propos de cet article
Titre : Jonson and the Contexts of His Time
Éditeur : Bucknell Univ Pr, U.S.A.
Date d'édition : 1994
Reliure : Hard Cover
Etat du livre :Fine
Etat de la jaquette : Fine
Edition : First Edition
A propos de ce titre
This work examines various aspects of Jonson's life and works, including his relations with significant contemporaries. A wide chronological and generic range is covered, offering close readings of significant works.Review:
included in Best Books for Academic Libraries, 2002
Choice ReviewThe industrious Ben Jonson scholar Robert Evans here gathers essays of two kinds. The papers in the middle of the volume explore topical meaning in Jonson's plays; the interest is not in large political or religious position-taking but in what Evans calls "micropolitics"--personal concerns often focused on literary rivalries. Typically, Evans takes some connection that has been noticed briefly in the prior Jonson literature and tightens the connection with further reading in period sources, including manuscript materials. For example, one essay adduces additional evidence that 17th-century readers were prepared to identify the character Volpone with a celebrated and much-resented rich fellow of the day named Thomas Sutton. These papers do not change one's view of the plays in question but will benefit advanced researchers. More attractive to nonspecialists will be the studies that begin and end the collection; here Evans provides aesthetically penetrating appreciations along with biographical contextualizations in his readings of several poems Jonson wrote to high-ranking patrons. Recommended for graduate collections especially. E. D. Hill; Mount Holyoke College
. . . The eight diverse essays that comprise Evans's study make it somewhat less unified than his three other recent books on Jonson, but they do serve to illustrate his claim that, paradoxically, the more fully we appreciate how Jonson's works are rooted in their own time, the more fully we may appreciate their artistry (p. 94). The paradoxical quality of Jonson's art and life, in fact, is a recurring theme in the book. Evans finds paradoxes in the way that Jonson's exaltation of his freedom of response in the "Epistle to Sacvile" signals his submission to social mores, in the fact that The Devil Is an Ass (by supporting the positions of the Earl of Pembroke) is itself a product of the courtly infighting that it satirizes, and in the potency of poetic skill demonstrated by Jonson's effective dramatization of his physical weakness in his "Epistle Mendicant" to Lord Weston. Refusing to judge these seeming contradictions, Evans views them as the basis of Jonson's continuing interest as a complicated artist and man. - W. David Kay, Journal of English and Germanic Philology
This is a rich and thoughtful book which addresses the personal and political contexts of some of Jonson's works. It is mainly concerned with some of the plays and masques, but there is also comment upon specific individual poems, following the precedent of Evans' earlier study, Ben Jonson and the Poetics of Patronage (1989). . . . It is a pleasure to reflect upon this useful contribution to Jonson studies both in terms of the detailed discussion of individual works and the more general speculation about the function of this kind of historical study. Even if one cannot always agree with Evans there is no doubting his scholarship and the thoughtfulness of his approach. - Peter Happé, Comparative Drama
Robert Evans is certainly among the most prolific Jonson scholars of the past decade, and maybe ever. In six years he has published three books on the poet, and the biographical note to the latest of these volumes adds, in passing, that he has also completed a fourth. We who lack Evans's scholarly fecundity may regard all this as vulgar ostentation, but it is getting harder and harder to ignore, particularly since the completion of one of Evans's books seems automatically to generate material for another one. That is very much the case with the latest offering. Jonson and the Contexts of his Time works in large part as a sequel to the earlier Ben Jonson and the Poetics of Patronage, in which Evans conducted a lengthy and insightful study of what he calls the "micropolitical" dimension of Jonson's nondramatic verse. . . . This material is important in its own right as a contribution to Jonson biography, even if one disagrees with Evans's overall picture of the poet and his work. As for that overall picture: Evans characterizes it in an introductory chapter as broadly new historicist, while observing that the new historicism itself has rapidly developed into a category without an adequate referent. Certainly Evans's interest in the biographical particulars of Jonson's achievement serves to associate his work with current historicizing literary scholarship. But it also produces a criticism that is really sui generis: refreshing historicist scholarship that eschews the usual Foucaultian mysticism about power, and that concentrates instead upon deeds and language such as men do use. To this extent it is work that Jonson himself, I believe, would have appreciated. - Bruce Boehrer, South Atlantic Review
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