Ben Jonson | Critical Essay by Alvin Kernan

This literature criticism consists of approximately 25 pages of analysis & critique of Ben Jonson.
This section contains 10,795 words
(approx. 36 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Essay by Alvin Kernan

SOURCE: "The Satirist in the Theater: Comicall Satyre," in The Cankered Muse: Satire of the English Renaissance, Yale University Press, 1959, pp. 156-91.

In the following excerpt, Kernan focuses on Jonson's "comicall satyres," showing how the satirical and ironic modes are played out in the theme of alchemy and in the gulf between Renaissance aspiration and human limitation. Jonson, Kernan contends, "set the pattern for comical satire for a generation to come."

Ben Jonson … was concerned with the moral and sanative purpose of satire, not just with exciting theater, and in his three plays which he called "Comicall Satyres," Every Man Out of His Humor (1599), Cynthia's Revels (1600), and Poetaster (1601) he attempted to limit the satirist to his proper place in satiric drama. Or, put in another way, he tried in these plays to solve the recurrent problem of formal satire...

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This section contains 10,795 words
(approx. 36 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Katherine Eisaman Maus