C. H. Herford, Percy Simpson, and Evelyn Simpson (eds), Ben Jonson, Vol. 11: Commentary; Jonson's Literary Record; Supplementary Notes; Index

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THIS is not what it is the fashion to call an allusion-book;1 mere allusions have found their place in the commentary. And prologues and epilogues to revivals of Jonson's plays have been printed in the chapter on stage-history (vol. ix, pp. 163–258). The collection here is in the main a portrait-gallery of criticism recording the tributes of his friends and the strictures of antagonists. The enemies are more interesting than the friends; they are, as a rule, more sincere. Taken altogether, this is a wonderful testimony to an outstanding and formidable personality. First come the commendatory poems of the early texts and contemporary poems on the individual works; next come verse and prose criticisms written in Jonson's lifetime, followed by the numerous elegies on his death. Finally there is the criticism of the Restoration and a few later pieces.pg 306


1 In 1922 J. F. Bradley and J. Q. Adams published The Jonson Allusion-Book, a collection from 1597 to 1700. It was reviewed severely by G. C. Moore Smith in the M.L.R., 1924, xix, pp. 111–13, and supplemented by G. E. Bentley in Shakespeare and Jonson, their Reputations in the Seventeenth Century compared, 1945. We have borrowed some examples from the latter.

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