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Ben Jonson: A Re-assessment

Like all Shakespeare’s contemporaries, Ben Jonson has often been overshadowed by the Bard, but this larger-than-life character has variously been described as “Britain’s first literary celebrity” and “the dominant literary figure of his day”.

Two major new studies are helping to reassert the importance of his place amongst the greatest of the Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists. First came a major new biography, Ian Donaldson’s Ben Jonson: A Life, published by OUP in October 2011. And this will be followed in summer 2012 by the long awaited Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson, edited by Donaldson, David Bevington and Martin Butler – the result of more than 15 years’ detailed research, some of which the British Academy has helped to fund.

This panel discussion brings these authors together from three different continents to reappraise Jonson’s importance in the literary canon in a special event supported by both Oxford and Cambridge University Presses.

Chair: Professor Jonathan Bate CBE FBA (University of Oxford)
Professor Ian Donaldson FBA (University of Melbourne)
Professor David Bevington FBA (University of Chicago)
Professor Martin Butler (University of Leeds)