Ben Jonson and Performance

STEGGLE, Matthew (2016). Ben Jonson and Performance. In: GIDDENS, Eugene, (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Ben Jonson. Oxford, Oxford University Press. (In Press)

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For Una Ellis-Fermor, there is a "deeply inherent non-dramatic principle" in the drama of Ben Jonson, a fundamental dislike of theatricality, and a pursuit instead of "psychological truth". Conversely, theatre directors such as Sam Mendes see Jonson's plays as beautifully engineered blueprints for performance, and they locate the psychological truth of Jonson precisely in performance on the stage. This chapter examines current approaches to the whole question of Jonson in performance. It examines the idea of an antitheatrical Jonson, rooted in Jonson's own critical writings and developed by Ellis-Fermor, Herford and Simpson, and Jonas A. Barish, among others. It contrasts that with the more theatre-friendly version of Jonson which informs much recent performance criticism. The essay builds up to a reading of the metatheatrical and performance aspects of the most often staged Jonson play of all: Volpone.

Item Type: Book Section
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Humanities Research Centre
Depositing User: Matthew Steggle
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2016 11:02
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 22:45

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