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Ben Jonson: Sejanus
One of Jonson’s greatest plays, Sejanus, has seldom been edited, and is here published, with full notes and introduction, for the first time since 1911. Mr. Barish shows that Jonsonian tragedy can be understood and appreciated only by clearing the mind of Shakespearean preconceptions. The present edition makes the play available in a modernized text, explanatory notes glos ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 11th 1965 by Yale University Press
(first published 1603)
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Those with a keen interest in the ups and downs of Imperial Rome, or the heedless comparison between this age and King James' England (even our own oily oligarchies) might find something of interest in this play. Others who have a fixation on line-for-line adaptation of classical historians like Tacitus would have a field-day here. Yet the poor unfortunate few who have stumbled upon this play and seek to be entertained have an uphill battle before them, almost as if Jonson wrote this history so ...more
Much better than I expected: the story of a Caesar and the power mad General who seems to help him. It is a theme Jonson also visited in his comedies. Strongly drawn characters, an OK story, and Jonson's wit pervade. We would probably not read this play if Jonson did not write his comedies, but it is worth seeking out.
With powerful language and intense scenes, Jonson is not as wonderful as his admired Shakespeare (and I think he knew it at heart) but he's nonetheless one of the greatest playwrights I've read. His interpretation of the terrible fall of emperor Tiberius' favourite is both poetical and shocking.
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems. A man of vast reading and a seemingly insatiable appetite for controversy, Jonson had an unparalleled breadth of influence on Jacobean and ...moreMore about Ben Jonson...