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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Ben Jonson wrote in a number of well defined genres and could mix them without confusion. The epigrams contain examples of epitaphs, satire, miniature odes, praise of friends and attacks on enemies without generally losing their formal concise sententiousness. His great thematic concerns, such as friendship, hospitality, virtue and vice, were portrayed in a variety of genres, drama as well as poetry, and were proclaimed in his characteristically resounding and often memorable voice. His development of the form of the masque, a genre half-way between drama and poetry, which mixed lyrical celebration of beauty and nobility with prose revelations of abnormality and excess, is a particularly outstanding example. Thus Jonson is able to make traditional genres his own and not merely stale imitations of classical models. It is not surprising, then, that in drama Jonson was concerned with more than conventional notions of plot as merely sequential events; his drama embodied an overarching Aristotelian notion of action both in comedy and drama.

Keywords: Genre, masque, voice, satire, comedy, plot, epistle, epigram, friendship, Aristotle

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