His father, a minister, died shortly before his birth and his mother remarried a bricklayer. Jonson was raised in Westminster and attended St.
One of the great playwrights of English literature, and a colorful representative of its Renaissance period. His reputation once rivaled that of his friend William Shakespeare.
He was also a fine lyric poet and the foremost author of English masques entertainments for the royal court. Jonson was a native of London. His clergyman father died a month before he was born and he was raised as the stepson of a bricklayer, whose trade he was obliged to enter after leaving Westminster School around Although this ended his formal education, his scholarly bent led him to become the most erudite of Elizabethan playwrights, proud of his knowledge of the Latin and Greek classics.
By the mids he was married and working as an actor - a rather bad one, it seems - and writer for the London stage. Nashe fled London to escape arrest while Jonson and two of the actors were tossed into Marshalsea Prison for eight weeks.
His career had just taken off when it nearly ended in disaster. What provoked it is unknown, though Spencer had been jailed with him over "The Isle of Dogs", after which they joined rival stage companies.
Convicted of manslaughter at the Old Bailey, Jonson narrowly escaped execution by pleading "benefit of clergy", meaning he could read and write in Latin. Instead he was branded on his left thumb as a felon and his property was forfeited to the Crown. While in Newgate Prison awaiting trial he became a Catholic, which would cause him further difficulties before he returned to the Protestant faith in ; but he remained unrepentant in his personal affairs.
He plunged into the "War of the Theatres", a public feud he conducted against John Marston and Thomas Dekkerwriters for a company of boy actors. London theatregoers found the spat amusing enough for Shakespeare to allude to it in "Hamlet" c.
The combatants soon made peace and even became collaborators, leading some to speculate it was all a publicity stunt; Marston dedicated his best play, "The Malcontent"to Jonson. Government officials imagined it was a veiled portrayal of executed rebel Robert DevereuxEarl of Essex, and Jonson was hauled before the Privy Council for questioning on suspicion of "popery and treason".
The play itself was a flop, as was his later tragedy "Catiline" In he found himself briefly in prison again for "Eastward Ho", a comedy co-written with Marston and George Chapman. It had political humor and anti-Scottish sentiments that offended King James Iand according to Jonson the authors were threatened with having their ears and noses cut off.
His final conflicts with the authorities were related to his Catholicism. In October Jonson attended a dinner party at which Robert Catesby and other Gunpowder Plot conspirators were present. A subsequent investigation cleared the author of any involvement in their attempt to spark an anti-Protestant revolt by blowing up the House of Lords; but he was still accused of using his fame to attract others to the Catholic cause, and was fined as a recusant.
Amazingly, none of this seriously affected his progress at the royal court. He would produce 36 of them over the next three decades. They show him at his most fanciful and learned, often drawing on mythological subjects, though he put his personal stamp on the genre by introducing the "anti-masque", a comic interlude that mocks the main plot.
That art is long extinct, however. It is with the series of comedies Jonson wrote between and that his reputation truly rests: Critics consider "Volpone" and "The Alchemist" his masterpieces.
Teeming with swindlers and their greedy, gullible victims, misers, lechers, fools, whores, and religious hypocrites, these plays satirize a world Jonson saw as amoral and corrupt. The point is succinctly made in the subplot of "The Devil is an Ass": The year was in many ways a turning point for Jonson.Ben Jonson: Ben Jonson, English Stuart dramatist, lyric poet, and literary critic.
He is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, after William Shakespeare, during the reign of James I. Among his major plays are the comedies Every .
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Ben Jonson: Ben Jonson, English Stuart dramatist, lyric poet, and literary critic. He is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, after William Shakespeare, during the reign of James I.
Among his major plays are the comedies Every . Ben Johnson, Actor: The Last Picture Show. Born in Oklahoma, Ben Johnson was a ranch hand and rodeo performer when, in , Howard Hughes hired him to take a load of horses to California.
An in-depth look at Shakespeare's contemporary Ben Jonson with analysis of his plays, Volpone and more. Benjamin "Ben" Jonson (c. 11 June – 6 August ) was an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy/5(16). Discover books, read about the author, find related products, and more. More about Ben Johnson.
He decided to stick around (the pay was good), and for some years was a stunt man, horse wrangler, and double for such stars as John Wayne, Gary Cooper and James timberdesignmag.com: Jun 13, Ben Jonson, Renaissance Dramatist, Playwright, and Poet, Competitor to William Shakespeare.
Writer of Masques, Plays, Poetry, and Epigrams. Life, works, and resources. Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems.