Ben Jonson

(2205 words)
  • Matthew Steggle (Sheffield Hallam University)

Ben Jonson was born on 11 June 1572. His father, who died a month before Jonson was born, was a minister: his step-father was a builder. The young Jonson attended Westminster School, a rigorous, classics-minded grammar school, where one of his teachers was the historian William Camden “once my teacher, always my friend”, as Jonson later wrote.

Jonson did not go to university, probably for reasons of money, training instead in his step-father's trade as a bricklayer. However, at some point in the 1590s he chose to try his luck as a soldier in the Low Countries where English troops were involved in the continuing wars between the Dutch and the Spanish. These wars provided young Englishmen with many opportunities for heroism and …

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Steggle, Matthew. "Ben Jonson". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 January 2001
[, accessed 04 October 2015.]

Articles on Jonson's works

  1. Bartholomew Fair
  2. Epicene, or, The Silent Woman
  3. Every Man in His Humour
  4. Every Man Out of His Humour
  5. Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue
  6. Sejanus: His Fall
  7. The Alchemist
  8. The English Grammar
  9. The Irish Masque at Court
  10. The Masque of Blackness
  11. The Masque of Queens
  12. To Penshurst
  13. Volpone

Related Groups

  1. Renaissance and Humanism
  2. English Renaissance Theatre - Elizabethan
  3. English Renaissance Theatre - Jacobean