Ben Jonson

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Ben Jonson : biography

c. 11 June 1572 – 6 August 1637

In May 1610 King Henri IV of France, a Catholic monarch respected in England for tolerance towards Protestants, was assassinated, purportedly in the name of the Pope, and this seems to have been the immediate cause of Jonson’s decision to rejoin the Church of England.Donaldson (2011: 272) He did this in flamboyant style, pointedly drinking a full chalice of communion wine at the eucharist to demonstrate his renunciation of the Catholic rite, in which the priest alone drinks the wine.Jon Morrill, quoted in Donaldson (2011: 487)Riggs (1989: 177) The exact date of the ceremony is unknown. However his interest in Catholic belief and practice remained with him until his death.

Jonson’s works

Plays

  • A Tale of a Tub, comedy (c. 1596 revised? performed 1633; printed 1640)
  • The Isle of Dogs, comedy (1597, with Thomas Nashe; lost)
  • The Case is Altered, comedy (c. 1597–98; printed 1609), with Henry Porter and Anthony Munday?
  • Every Man in His Humour, comedy (performed 1598; printed 1601)
  • Every Man out of His Humour, comedy ( performed 1599; printed 1600)
  • Cynthia’s Revels (performed 1600; printed 1601)
  • The Poetaster, comedy (performed 1601; printed 1602)
  • Sejanus His Fall, tragedy (performed 1603; printed 1605)
  • Eastward Ho, comedy (performed and printed 1605), a collaboration with John Marston and George Chapman
  • Volpone, comedy (c. 1605–06; printed 1607)
  • Epicoene, or the Silent Woman, comedy (performed 1609; printed 1616)
  • The Alchemist, comedy (performed 1610; printed 1612)
  • Catiline His Conspiracy, tragedy (performed and printed 1611)
  • Bartholomew Fair, comedy (performed 31 October 1614; printed 1631)
  • The Devil is an Ass, comedy (performed 1616; printed 1631)
  • The Staple of News, comedy (performed Feb. 1626; printed 1631)
  • The New Inn, or The Light Heart, comedy (licensed 19 January 1629; printed 1631)
  • The Magnetic Lady, or Humors Reconciled, comedy (licensed 12 October 1632; printed 1641)
  • The Sad Shepherd, pastoral (c. 1637, printed 1641), unfinished
  • Mortimer his Fall, history (printed 1641), a fragment

Masques

  • The Coronation Triumph, or The King’s Entertainment (performed 15 March 1604; printed 1604); with Thomas Dekker
  • A Private Entertainment of the King and Queen on May-Day (The Penates) (1 May 1604; printed 1616)
  • The Entertainment of the Queen and Prince Henry at Althorp (The Satyr) (25 June 1603; printed 1604)
  • The Masque of Blackness (6 January 1605; printed 1608)
  • Hymenaei (5 January 1606; printed 1606)
  • The Entertainment of the Kings of Great Britain and Denmark (The Hours) (24 July 1606; printed 1616)
  • The Masque of Beauty (10 January 1608; printed 1608)
  • The Masque of Queens (2 February 1609; printed 1609)
  • The Hue and Cry After Cupid, or The Masque at Lord Haddington’s Marriage (9 February 1608; printed c. 1608)
  • The Entertainment at Britain’s Burse (11 April 1609; lost, rediscovered 2004)
  • The Speeches at Prince Henry’s Barriers, or The Lady of the Lake (6 January 1610; printed 1616)
  • Oberon, the Faery Prince (1 January 1611; printed 1616)
  • Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly (3 February 1611; printed 1616)
  • Love Restored (6 January 1612; printed 1616)
  • A Challenge at Tilt, at a Marriage (27 December 1613/1 January 1614; printed 1616)
  • The Irish Masque at Court (29 December 1613; printed 1616)
  • Mercury Vindicated from the Alchemists (6 January 1615; printed 1616)
  • The Golden Age Restored (1 January 1616; printed 1616)
  • Christmas, His Masque (Christmas 1616; printed 1641)
  • The Vision of Delight (6 January 1617; printed 1641)
  • Lovers Made Men, or The Masque of Lethe, or The Masque at Lord Hay’s (22 February 1617; printed 1617)
  • Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue (6 January 1618; printed 1641) The masque was a failure; Jonson revised it by placing the anti-masque first, turning it into:
  • For the Honour of Wales (17 February 1618; printed 1641)
  • News from the New World Discovered in the Moon (7 January 1620: printed 1641)
  • The Entertainment at Blackfriars, or The Newcastle Entertainment (May 1620?; MS)
  • Pan’s Anniversary, or The Shepherd’s Holy-Day (19 June 1620?; printed 1641)
  • The Gypsies Metamorphosed (3 and 5 August 1621; printed 1640)
  • The Masque of Augurs (6 January 1622; printed 1622)
  • Time Vindicated to Himself and to His Honours (19 January 1623; printed 1623)
  • Neptune’s Triumph for the Return of Albion (26 January 1624; printed 1624)
  • The Masque of Owls at Kenilworth (19 August 1624; printed 1641)
  • The Fortunate Isles and Their Union (9 January 1625; printed 1625)
  • Love’s Triumph Through Callipolis (9 January 1631; printed 1631)
  • Chloridia: Rites to Chloris and Her Nymphs (22 February 1631; printed 1631)
  • The King’s Entertainment at Welbeck in Nottinghamshire (21 May 1633; printed 1641)
  • Love’s Welcome at Bolsover ( 30 July 1634; printed 1641)