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Ben Jonson: Sejanus

3.39  ·  Rating Details  ·  75 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
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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Community Reviews

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Alan
May 26, 2009 Alan rated it it was amazing
read at college, a searingly brilliant read, about political machinations of course, and with no illusions. The play of language is just perfect. You come away battered. Is that good? Yes.
Keith
Jun 28, 2015 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a moderately entertaining play to read. It moves quickly and features some nice poetry as well as a crescendo of action that leads to a surprise twist at the end. Overall, though, its purpose outweighs its art. Jonson’s theme is painted with a blunt brush. Sejanus is a stock villain. There’s little subtlety or nuance in his portrayal.

Where another artist may have been ambiguous about Sejanus’ purposes, Jonson leaves no gray. Shakespeare’s Roman plays, Julius Caesar and Coriolanus, by co
...more
Kyle
Mar 28, 2014 Kyle rated it it was ok
Shelves: phd-studies
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
Madeline
May 02, 2014 Madeline rated it really liked it
The play is perhaps not the best *drama* (its first performance was a disaster apparently and it isn't too hard to guess why), but it's a good read, especially if you've read Tacitus' Annals or other works of Roman history.
Mike Jensen
Nov 04, 2010 Mike Jensen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Rozonda
Apr 09, 2011 Rozonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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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 ...more
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