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date: 21 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses Ben Jonson’s miscellaneous poems, numbering about fifty or so, and how they might fit very neatly into a conventional critical narrative about his career, a narrative that traditionally focuses on the print publication of his folio Workes (1616). It considers the possible reasons why these poems were omitted from print, whether they tell a story of their own, and whether reading them as a group tells us anything about Jonson’s poetic career, and his preoccupations and prejudices. It also examines poems that are concerned with the dynamics of friendship and dedication, including those written for Michael Drayton, Nicholas Breton, and William Shakespeare. It suggests that Jonson’s miscellaneous poetry is a miscellaneous group and should not be read as a singular collection.

Keywords: Ben Jonson, miscellaneous poems, uncollected poems, Workes, friendship, Michael Drayton, Nicholas Breton, William Shakespeare, poetry

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