The first decade of the Jacobean age witnessed a sudden profusion of comedies satirizing city life; among these were comedies by Ben Jonson, John Marston and Thomas Middleton, as well as the bulk of the repertory of the newly-established children’s companies at Blackfriars and Paul’s. The playwrights self-consciously forged a new genre which attracted London audiences with its images of folly and vice in Court and City, and hack-writing dramatists were prompt to cash in on a new theatrical fashion.
This study, first published in 1980, examines ways in which the Jacobean city comedy reflect on the self-consciousness of audiences and the concern of the dramatists with Jacobean society. This title will be of interest of students of Renaissance Drama, English Literature and Performance.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Second Edition; Acknowledgements; 1. City comedy as a genre 2. A fountain stirr’d: city comedy in relation to the social and economic background 3. The approaching equinox: politics and city comedy 4. To strip the ragged follies of the time 5. Marston and the Court: folly and corruption 6. Money makes the world go around: the city satirized 7. Conventional plays 1604-7 8. Middleton and Jonson 9. Bartholomew Fair and The Devil Is an Ass: city comedy at the zenith; Appendix; Notes; Select bibliography; Index