Since the Romantic period, Jonson has been an author more respected than read. Frequently compared with Shakespeare, he usually suffers unfairly from the comparison. In this book Barton gives a reading of the plays which completely re-evaluates Jonson as a dramatist. Describing in detail his experimentation with different comic styles and his changing relationship to other Elizabethan and Jacobean poets, particularly Shakespeare, she brings us closer than ever before to Jonson as a man, and as a great artist in comedy. The book proceeds play by play, examining such important topics as Jonson's treatment of women, trust among individuals, father and son relationships, and proper names.
Preface; Abbreviations and chronology of plays; 1. Jonson and the Elizabethans; 2. The Case Is Altered and Every Man In His Humour; 3. The comical satires; 4. Sejanus and Volpone; 5. Epicoene; 6. The Alchemist; 7. Catiline; 8. Names: the chapter interloping; 9. Bartholomew Fair; 10. The Devil Is An Ass; 11. The Staple of News and Eastward Ho!; 12. The New Inn; 13. The Magnetic Lady; 14. Harking back to Elizabeth: Jonson and Caroline nostalgia; 15. A Tale of A Tub; 16. The Sad Shepard; Notes; Index