Abstract and Keywords
The writing of Ben Jonson’s life has long been shaped by a distinctive combination of forces. His prominent place in literary history, and the changes in the nature of that prominence which occurred over the course of the eighteenth century, in particular, have generated a degree of partisanship which, even now, is not easily transcended. The selective nature of the evidence available has exerted its own pressures, ensuring that certain aspects of the life are more vividly perceptible than others. The ‘Informations’ collected by William Drummond have presented biographers with exceptional riches and knotty interpretative challenges, the latter compounded by the surviving text’s complicated history. The emergence of new sources, too, reorders the picture: prominent among these is the ‘Foot Voyage’ account of Jonson’s walk to Edinburgh in 1618, which adds a vivid, and singular, dimension to the biographical record.
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