Ben Jonson, Epicene, or, The Silent Woman

Amritesh Singh (University of York)
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Ben Jonson’s Epicene, or The Silent Woman was first performed either in December 1609 or January 1610 by the Children of Her Majesty’s revels in the Whitefriars, a new private playhouse. This makes it one of the first plays to be performed upon the reopening of London theatres after their closure in June 1608 “by reason of the sickness [an epidemic of plague]” (1.1.176-77). Along with Volpone (1606), The Alchemist (1610), and Bartholomew Fair (1614), scholars regard Epicene as one of Jonson’s most compelling and vibrant comedies. This critical consensus echoes contemporary sentiments as expressed in this anonymous couplet:

The Fox, The Alchemist, and Silent …

1485 words

Citation: Singh, Amritesh. "Epicene, or, The Silent Woman". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 24 September 2012 [, accessed 24 September 2023.]

5341 Epicene, or, The Silent Woman 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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