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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

After the ascension of James I to the English throne in 1603, Ben Jonson provided him with entertainments for several occasions. In his Works (1616), Jonson presents himself as the ‘author’ of these pieces, but in fact the early modern entertainment was a collaborative genre, typically featuring contributions from many and different artists. The chapter shows that Jonson finessed this problem by tying his own legitimacy as an author to the authority of James as King. The entertainments took James as their ideal audience and mirrored his politics and his aesthetic. Each of Jonson’s exercises in the genre speaks to the circumstances of a specific moment in Jacobean court life. His Caroline entertainments only serve to point up how dependent Jonson was on James I as an organizing principle.

Keywords: Ben Jonson, entertainment, James I, Robert Cecil, Inigo Jones, Charles I, ‘The Satyre’, ‘The Penates’, ‘The Hours’, coronation of James I

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