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Jonsonians explores the theatrical traditions within which Ben Jonson was working, investigates the ways in which his work has influenced and informed the development of theatre from the early 17th century to the present day, and examines Jonson's theatre in relation to 20th- and 21st-century traditions of performance. It argues that although Jonsonian traditions are rarely acknowledged, they are vibrant and powerful forces that are very much alive today in the theatre of writers and directors as diverse as Caryl Churchill, David Mamet, Spike Lee, John Arden, Alan Ayckbourn and Peter Barnes. The book opens with essays on Poetaster, Sejanus, Bartholomew Fair, The New Inn and The Magnetic Lady - each of which interrogates, in a variety of ways, the notion of 'Jonsonian' theatre and considers the relationships of Jonson's theatre to classical traditions, to his contemporaries in England and Europe, and to modern performance practice and theory. The second section of the book includes essays on 'The Sons of Ben' (including Richard Brome) Aphra Behn and 'Daughters of Ben' (women working in the theatre in the post-Restoration period). The book concludes with an extensive section devoted to modern day Jonsonians, exploring how reading their work as Jonsonian might alter perceptions of contemporary theatre, and how seeing them as contemporary 'Jonsonians' might affect our understanding of Jonson's theatre.

Eisenstein’s sketch of a set design for Ben Jonson's Bartholomew Fair.

'Why do we pay so little attention to Ben Jonson, whom Eisenstein regarded as his teacher?


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