Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson 1572-1637) was an early modern playwright whose popularity rivaled that of Shakespeare or Marlowe. He spent multiple stints in prison, wrote masques in which the Queen of England and Prince of Wales performed, and was crowned England's first poet laureate. Yet for all this in 1572 he was born into relative poverty. His father died shortly before his birth, and his mother remarried a bricklayer. Luckily for the clever young boy, an unidentified friend paid for Jonson to attend Westminster School. After leaving school Jonson attempted to join his stepfather as a bricklayer, but the profession didn't take; legend has it young Ben recited Homer while building the walls of Lincoln Inn. In the 1590s Jonson served in the armed forces in the Low Countries, and in November 1594 Jonson married a woman he described as "a shrew, yet honest." It's not certain when Jonson entered the theatre, but by 1597 he was an actor for the Admiral's Men. It was also in this year that his earliest surviving play, The Case is Altered, was performed by Pembroke's Company. By George Vertue, after Gerard van Honthorst [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Too Witty for his Own Good...
Read the essay: Ben Jonson: Renaissance Playwright, Renaissance Man by Kate O'Connor
# Title Description Author
1 VolponeVolponeThe foxe

ebook version of VolponeVolponeThe foxe

Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637
2 Bartholomew Fair

ebook version of Bartholomew Fair

Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637
3 Catiline

ebook version of Catiline

Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637
4 Sejanus

ebook version of Sejanus

Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637
5 The poems of Robert Greene, Christopher Marlowe, and Ben Jonson

ed., with notes, by R. Bell.

Robert Greene, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson
6 'Ben Jonson, Feltham, and Randolph'

Chapter taken from Issac Disraeli's collection of essay entitled 'Curiosities of Literature',...

Issac Disraeli
7 'Ben Jonson on Translation'

Chapter taken from Issac Disraeli's collection of essays entitled 'Curiosities of Literature',...

Issac Disraeli
8 'Masques'

Chapter taken from Issac Disraeli's collection of essays entitled 'Curiosities of Literature',...

Issac Disraeli
9 Cynthia's revels

ebook version of Cynthia's revels

Jonson, Ben, 1573?-1637
# Essay Title Description Contributor
1 Ben Jonson: Renaissance Playwright, Renaissance Man

Ben Jonson 1572-1637) was an early modern playwright whose popularity rivaled that of...

Kate O'Connor
2 English Renaissance Timeline: Some Historical and Cultural Dates

This list offers an overview of some historical and cultural dates from the English Renaissance...

Kate O'Connor
3 Early Modern Drama on the Page and Stage

By Emma Smith

Emma Smith
# Resource Title Description Contributor
1 Jonson 1616 folio Workes title page

Title page of Ben Jonson's 1616 folio edition of his collected poems and plays.

2 Ben Jonson by George Vertue

By George Vertue after Gerard van Honthorst.