Ben Jonson: His Craft and Art, Volume 2
Routledge, 1990 - 303 pages
Though he is one of the undisputed giants of English literature, Ben Jonson is known to most people only as the author of one or two masterly plays which regularly appear in the drama repertory. He is much less well-known for his whole oeuvre, which encompasses poetry, criticism, masque-making, and a lfetime of linguistic and lexicographical study. In this new book, Rosalind Miles, author of the widely acclaimed Ben Jonson: His Life and Work, presents a comprehensive critical study of the whole of Jonson's output from his earliest beginnings through to the final achievement. Looking at every word he ever wrote, in drama, masque, poetry, philosophy and literary criticism, she reveals a far more interesting and more varied picture of Jonson than we are accustomed to--not the accomplished artist so much as the struggling craftsman. In telling the story of Jonson's creative career, Rosalind Miles does justice to the whole of his magnificent and varied oeuvre, whose range is so little known to the general reader and which can still surprise literary specialists. This detailed portrait of the growth and development of a creative artist unique in his own time and rare in any other shows that the more we know, the more there is in Jonson to admire. As we see him at work, share his struggle with form and content, with reader and audience, and experience the erratic pattern of his failure and success, he emerges as a much more truthful and vital figure than the Jonson of literary and critical tradition. Written with life and vigour, and informed with the author's life-long passion for the work of Jonson, the book is a superb introduction to Jonson for students and general readers alike. The only scholarly critical study which covers everything Jonson ever wrote, it will also prove an invaluable work of reference for scholars and libraries.
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