Ben Jonson (1572-1637)

Ben Jonson

Ben Jonson (c. 1617), by Abraham Blyenberch; oil on canvas painting at the National Portrait Gallery, London

Born: c. 11 June 1572, Westminster, London; Died: 6 August 1637 (aged 65).

He was an English playwright, poet, actor, and literary critic of the seventeenth century, whose artistry exerted a lasting impact upon English poetry and stage comedy. He popularised the comedy of humours. He is best known for the satirical plays Every Man in His Humour (1598), Volpone, or The Foxe (1605), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fayre: A Comedy (1614), and for his lyric poetry; he is generally regarded as the second most important English dramatist, after William Shakespeare, during the reign of James I.

Jonson was a classically educated, well-read, and cultured man of the English Renaissance with an appetite for controversy (personal and political, artistic and intellectual) whose cultural influence was of unparalleled breadth upon the playwrights and the poets of the Jacobean era (1603—1625) and of the Caroline era (1625—1642)

« Timber, or Discoveries » « Classics » « Library » « Home »