Masques of Difference: Four Court Masques by Ben Jonson
by Kristen McDermott (Goodreads Author)
Masques of Difference presents an annotated edition of four seventeenth-century entertainments written by Ben Jonson for the court of James I. These masques reflect both the confidence and the anxieties of the English aristocracy at a time when notions of monarchy, empire, and national identity were being radically redefined. All four masques reflect the royal court's self...more
Paperback, 207 pages
Published March 15th 2008 by Manchester University Press
(first published 2007)
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As we had to read this book for college we got to hear a lot of background information which made it easier to understand the plays in context. The masques in this book, as well as the introduction, offer a good start for those interested in masques and the Jacobean Period. However, I can understand that the texts alone might be a bit of a dry/tough read for some. It is hard to imagine that such performances could take all night and were used for political purposes as well, but once you know thi...more
As the fairly thorough introduction to this book stresses, masques are difficult to consume and understand as mere textual objects. Singing and dancing, as well as the political maneuverings of the performing courtiers, were perhaps even more important than Jonson's poetry. The most interesting thing about masques - I think - is how difficult, impossible really, it is to locate a stable object or truth to analyze. But while I find that larger discussion fascinating, I'm just not a huge fan of ma...more
Kristen McDermott is a Professor of English Literature at Central Michigan University, specializing in Early Modern Drama. Her most recent book, WIlliam Shakespeare: His Life & Times, published by Templar/Candlewick and co-authored, with her husband, Ari Berk, won the School Library Association's 2011 Children's Choice Information Book Award. Her edition of Jacobean court entertainments, Masqu...moreMore about Kristen McDermott...