By Rebecca Yearling
This publication examines the impact of John Marston, in most cases visible as a minor determine between early smooth dramatists, on his colleague Ben Jonson. whereas Marston is generally famed extra for his very public competition with Jonson than for the standard of his performs, this booklet argues that one of these view of Marston heavily underestimates his value to the theatre of his time. In it, the writer contends that Marston's performs symbolize an scan in a brand new type of satiric drama, with origins within the humanist culture of serio ludere. His works―deliberately unpredictable, inconsistent and metatheatrical―subvert theatrical conventions and supply confusingly a number of views at the motion, forcing their spectators to have interaction actively with the drama and the ethical dilemmas that it provides. The e-book argues that Marston's paintings hence anticipates and maybe prompted the mid-period paintings of Ben Jonson, in performs similar to Sejanus, Volpone and The Alchemist.
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Extra resources for Ben Jonson, John Marston and Early Modern Drama: Satire and the Audience
However, at this point a third onstage spectator, Philarchus, is driven to protest: By’r Lady sir, I like not of this pride, Give me the ancient hospitallity, They say ’tis merry in hall, when beards wag all. The Italian Lord is an Asse … (2:267) Although Mavortius’ and Landulpho’s attacks on Posthast’s play may be fair enough, Marston suggests that they take it too far, and that Landulpho’s rejection of all drama in the English style is excessive The Playwrights and the Audience 31 and unjust.
Jonson’s pose in his early prologues, inductions and epilogues is author-centric, and typically suggests supreme self-belief. He insists that he neither wants nor needs to flatter, fawn and dissemble, when his works’ merits so clearly speak for themselves. Not only does Jonson insist on the superiority of his work, but he also attempts to remove authority from his audience by insisting that, unless they agree with his judgement, there is something wrong with them. We can see this in the induction he wrote for his 1599 comedy Every Man Out of His Humour.
How stable is the irony here, and how far does it go? Marston’s paratexts thus prove themselves to be tricky and ambiguous creatures, which resist final interpretation. His characteristic tone is teasing and ambiguous: it never seems to be clear how much he is flattering his spectators and how much he is covertly mocking them. Does Marston respect the playgoers of the private houses, as wise judges, or does he patronise them, as needy children who need to be flattered and manipulated into giving a play a fair chance?
Ben Jonson, John Marston and Early Modern Drama: Satire and the Audience by Rebecca Yearling