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Epicene, or the Silent Woman

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  305 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Epicene is now one of the most widely-studied of Johnson’s plays. Brilliantly exploiting the Jacobean convention whereby boys played female roles, it satirizes the newly fashionable and sexually ambiguous world of the West End of London, where courtly wit rubs shoulders with commercial values.

This authoritative new edition, now in paperback, is based on a thorough re-exami
Paperback, 360 pages
Published October 15th 2008 by Manchester University Press (first published 1616)
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principal antagonist is a 'man who prefers no noise,' which is an apt description of my wife.

latin scene is one of the best scenes in the period.
Erin BookNut
Sep 18, 2013 Erin BookNut rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class
I really enjoyed this play. I was dreading reading this for class but really it is very enjoyable for the modern reader If you can get past the language.
Ben Jonson must have been a remarkable man, a true Renaissance man of letters and action who lived a full life and left us the masterpieces which are Volpone and The Alchemist. His plays, especially the language of his plays, display a ribald colloquialism with tongue-in-cheek pedantry, often with hilarious results. It is unfair in my opinion to pronounce a final judgment on any play which one has not seen or heard performed and I have not had what I believe would have been the great pleasure of ...more
Jun 02, 2011 Stephen rated it it was ok
Shelves: england, 17th-century
It's not surprising that there are no reviews for this play. What could a modern reader really have to say about it? This is a city comedy about changing customs, idiosyncratic behaviors, unusual events, and laughable tropes happening in London in the first decade of the seventeenth century. It's like a Jacobean episode of "Family Guy." Just as the average episode of "Family Guy" is so packed with inside jokes, pop culture references, current events, and cultural absurdities that it won't make a ...more
Dec 15, 2012 Jesse rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jonson's formal finesse, and superb good humour, exquisitely tempered with biting satire, whose subjects are, contrary to the quibbles of historicists, and not too finely cultured fellow reviewers here, rather universal tendencies of an all too human vanity, are on full display in what has been called by Dryden as "the greatest and most noble of any pure unmixed comedy in any language"; and indeed, upon having read Epicoene, apart from the pristine plots of Terence, one cannot call to mind, exce ...more
American Shakespeare Center
In the bawdy, riotous tradition of all his city comedies, Ben Jonson’s Epicene explores love, sex, and trickery in Early Modern London. Urban playboy, Dauphine, wants his peaceand- quiet-loving Uncle Morose’s fortune and hatches an elaborate plan to get it. Take a suspiciously silent bride, all of Dauphine’s London cronies, and a deal that is simply too good to be true; and Morose, along with the audience, gets a wedding day he won’t soon forget.

Come see it live onstage at the American Shakespea
Oct 27, 2011 Mandy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I always want to like Jonson - he was such a badass - but I usually find myself disappointed with his plays and their concern with manners, overwrought humor, and general insider-joke-ness (a word that will not be showing up in the OED anytime soon). Admittedly, Morose's aversion to noise and the subsequent attempts to terrorize him with trumpets and the like are amusing, but not enough to make up for the fact that this play is hard to follow, rarely funny, and tailored to a specific audience th ...more
John Yeoman
Sep 07, 2014 John Yeoman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a post-modern play, 400 years before its time! The joke in the last scene where the 'silent woman' is revealed to be a boy was so shocking, for the theatrical conventions of the time, that grown men fainted in the aisles. As Drummond noted acerbically: 'No man was heard to say plaudite to that play'. But the parvenue Jonson - elitist to the last - was pulling his nose at his audience. And the result is delicious.
Rachel Brand
Aug 12, 2012 Rachel Brand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, plays, 2012, en4341
Finally, a book on this course that I've actually enjoyed reading! It dragged on in places and the characters were all horribly cruel to each other, but otherwise this play was rather amusing. Let's just see if I enjoy it as much once I've written an essay on it... 4*
Read this play for my 17th Century British Prose and Poetry class. Very funny in the end. I was intrigued by all the plots being weaved by the characters and wondered why in the world everything was happening as it did. Finished it in one sitting.
Mike Jensen
Sep 27, 2011 Mike Jensen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic edition of a fantastic and underknown comedy. Get to know it.
Nov 04, 2011 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A jumbled, turgid thing. With the big pay-off being that the main female character was actually a man. Not my favorite.
Jul 13, 2010 Jessica rated it it was ok
Ben Jonson: still too clever for me.
Amy Wolf
Jan 21, 2013 Amy Wolf rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
HILARIOUS. One of the best farces ever. Everyone in this play is a complete buffoon, especially the husband, Morose. Turns out the silent wife has more of a clue than anyone else.
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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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