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date: 12 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter begins by marking out the boundaries of ‘early Jonson’ with reference to theatre history and bibliography, before providing recorded responses to Jonson in the contemporary theatre. It identifies 1597 as a key year in his dramatic development, particularly pointing to the influence of George Chapman on Jonson’s playwriting and on popular London theatre more generally. The Case Is Altered, Jonson’s first extant performed play, is analysed in detail, with special attention paid to his presentation of households on the stage (the carefully delineated status of the steward, his lord, and other servants), and integral use of properties, costume and objects in stage business. The conclusion points to Jonson’s skill in crafting little worlds within the theatre, and in bringing London onto the stage.

Keywords: Ben Jonson, clothing, costume, household, stage business, stage property, status, steward, theatre

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