Honour of the last.
In midlife, Jonson claimed that his paternal grandfather was a member of the extended Johnston family of Annandale in the Dumfries and Gallowaya genealogy that is attested by the three spindles rhombi in the Jonson family coat of arms: Later, Johnson essayist family friend paid for his studies at Westminster Schoolwhere the antiquarianhistorian, topographer and officer of armsWilliam Camden — was one of his masters.
On leaving Westminster School, Jonson was to have attended the University of Cambridgeto continue his book learning but did not, because of his unwilled apprenticeship to his bricklayer stepfather.
After having been an apprentice bricklayer, Ben Jonson went to the Netherlands and volunteered to soldier with the English regiments of Francis Vere — in Flanders. The Hawthornden Manuscriptsof the conversations between Ben Jonson and the poet William Drummond of Hawthornden —report that, when in Flanders, Jonson engaged, fought and killed an enemy soldier in single combatand took for trophies the weapons of the vanquished soldier.
Moreover, 32 years later, a second son, also named Benjamin Jonson, died in John Aubrey reports, on uncertain authority, that Jonson was not successful as an actor; whatever his skills as an actor, he was evidently more valuable to the company as a writer.
An undated comedy, The Case is Alteredmay be his earliest surviving play. Jonson was jailed in Marshalsea Prison and charged with "Leude and mutynous behaviour", while Nashe managed to escape to Great Yarmouth. Two of the actors, Gabriel Spenser and Robert Shaw, were also imprisoned.
A year later, Jonson was again briefly imprisoned, this time in Newgate Prisonfor killing Gabriel Spenser in a duel on 22 September Johnson essayist Hogsden Fields  today part of Hoxton.
William Shakespeare was among the first actors to be cast. Jonson followed this in with Every Man out of His Humoura pedantic attempt to imitate Aristophanes. It is not known whether this was a success on stage, but when published it proved popular and went through several editions.
It satirised both John Marstonwho Jonson believed had accused him of lustfulness in Histriomastixand Thomas Dekker. Jonson attacked the two poets again in Poetaster Dekker responded with Satiromastixsubtitled "the untrussing of the humorous poet".
Jonson collaborated with Dekker on a pageant welcoming James I to England in although Drummond reports that Jonson called Dekker a rogue.
Marston dedicated The Malcontent to Jonson and the two collaborated with Chapman on Eastward Hoa play whose anti-Scottish sentiment briefly landed both Jonson and Chapman in jail.
Jonson quickly adapted himself to the additional demand for masques and entertainments introduced with the new reign and fostered by both the king and his consort Anne of Denmark. In addition to his popularity on the public stage and in the royal hall, he enjoyed the patronage of aristocrats such as Elizabeth Sidney daughter of Sir Philip Sidney and Lady Mary Wroth.
That same year he was questioned by the Privy Council about Sejanusa politically themed play about corruption in the Roman Empire. He was again in trouble for topical allusions in a play, now lost, in which he took part.
The Satyr and The Masque of Blackness are two of about two dozen masques which Jonson wrote for James or for Queen Anne, some of them performed at Apethorpe Palace when the King was in residence. The Masque of Blackness was praised by Algernon Charles Swinburne as the consummate example of this now-extinct genre, which mingled speech, dancing and spectacle.
On many of these projects he collaborated, not always peacefully, with designer Inigo Jones. Perhaps partly as a result of this new career, Jonson gave up writing plays for the public theatres for a decade. He later told Drummond that he had made less than two hundred pounds on all his plays together.
This sign of royal favour may have encouraged him to publish the first volume of the folio collected edition of his works that year. Other volumes followed in —41 and For the most part he followed the great north road, and was treated to lavish and enthusiastic welcomes in both towns and country houses.
Drummond noted he was "a great lover and praiser of himself, a contemner and scorner of others". By he had produced all the plays on which his present reputation as a dramatist is based, including the tragedy Catiline acted and printedwhich achieved limited success and the comedies Volpone acted and printed inEpicoene, or the Silent WomanThe AlchemistBartholomew Fair and The Devil is an Ass The Alchemist and Volpone were immediately successful.
Yet Epicoene, along with Bartholomew Fair and to a lesser extent The Devil is an Ass have in modern times achieved a certain degree of recognition. While his life during this period was apparently more settled than it had been in the s, his financial security was still not assured.
Notwithstanding this emphatically Protestant grounding, Jonson maintained an interest in Catholic doctrine throughout his adult life and, at a particularly perilous time while a religious war with Spain was widely expected and persecution of Catholics was intensifying, he converted to the faith.
His stance received attention beyond the low-level intolerance to which most followers of that faith were exposed. The first draft of his play Sejanus was banned for " popery ", and did not re-appear until some offending passages were cut.White poet Michael Derrick Hudson's use of the Chinese pen name Yi-Fen Chou was an act of yellowface that is part of a long tradition of white voices drowning out those of color in the literary world.
Ben Jonson: A Life by Ian Donaldson () Notes [ edit ] ^ Jonson's claim is interesting, since early printings of Shakespeare's work suggest that he tended to start a scene before giving up and trying again. This complete and unabridged edition is the only complete critical edition in paperback.
Samuel Johnson was a poet, essayist, dramatist, and pioneering lexicographer, but his continuing reputation depends less on his literary output than on the fortunate accident of finding an ideal biographer in James Boswell.
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James Boswell () was a lawyer, diarist, and author born in Edinburgh. He is best known as the biographer of Samuel Johnson. Boswell is known for taking voracious notes on the grand tour of Europe that he took as a young nobleman and, subsequently, of his tour to Scotland with Johnson.
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