While most critical writing on Jonson concentrates on the plays, poems or masques seen in isolation, this title, first published in 1981, ranges across the genres to explore Jonson’s vision as a whole. The author points to the inner connections that make of the rich variety of Jonson’s writing a single coherent body of work. We see Jonson exploring the relations between culture and society, the difficulties of ideal virtue in a far from ideal world, and above all the problems of art itself. Combining a wide-ranging discussion of Jonson’s interests with a detailed examination of his major works, this book provides a balanced critical introduction to one of the most complex and fascinating figures in English Literature.
Acknowledgements; A Note on the Text; Preface; 1. False Creations 2. The Dead Sea of Life 3. Images of Society 4. Virtue’s Labyrinth 5. Judgement and Transformation 6. The Poet as Character 7. Art and its Context; Conclusion; Notes; Index