Ben Jonson (1572-1637) is recognised as one of the major poets and dramatists of his time. It is surprising, therefore, that this should be the first study to look specifically at the role of women in his poetry. Barbara Smith challenges previously held conceptions of Jonson as a misogynist, upholding the patronage system that allowed him to work. Through detailed examination of his poetic structures, the influence of Juvenal, Martial and Horace, and Jonson's attitudes to his own female patrons, the Countess of Bedford and Lady Mary Wroth, The Women of Ben Jonson's Poetry demonstrates how seventeenth century cultural values and ideas of gender are both supported and subverted in the poems. ’If we "survey Jonson in his works and know him there", we will find the independence of spirit and originality that made him a rarity in his time and ours.'
Table of Contents
Contents: Acknowledgements; Introduction; The Praiser: Subject/Object identification; Author/Persona relationship; Motivation: Patrons' Lives: Lucy, Countess of Bedford; Lady Mary Wroth; Blame: Jonson and Juvenal; Jonson and Martial; Jonson and Horace; Satire and Women; Conclusion; Bibliography.
’This book is a welcome contribution to gender studies.’ Parergon ’Smith's book is clear, concise, and well structured...a whole new perspective on his strategy for satisfying his patrons without compromising his integrity.’ Janine Gerzanics, The Sixteenth Century Journal ’Smith’s study is extremely timely and will serve a variety of purposes. In addition to broadening the scope of current scholarship devoted to Jonson and the women he memorialized, it will also provide those undergraduates quick to condemn Jonson as thoroughly sycophantic with an accessible introduction to the epideictic mode.’ Ben Jonson Journal ’... well worth reading. It offers careful readings of many of Jonson's poems to women patrons and a well-supported argument that Jonson's treatment of women in his poetry is different in interesting ways from his treatment of men.’ The Shakespeare Newsletter