PhD Candidate, Department of English, University of Toronto
“I Am the Mouth of ‘Em All”: Or, Ben Jonson’s use of Hero and Leander for Bartholomew Fair
Ben Jonson is consistently considered to be the most deliberately classical poet-playwright of the early modern period in terms of his authorial self-styling. As a professed imitator of the Roman lyric poet Horace and a “learned plagiary of all others” Jonson is a keen-eyed critic when it comes to the complex networks that make up classical reception in the Renaissance. We can see this most clearly in what is perhaps an unexpected place: Bartholomew Fair (1614). As this talk will argue, Bartholomew Fair dramatizes Jonson’s understanding of the messy and non-linear processes that make up literary reception. I examine how Jonson depicts Marlowe’s Hero and Leander (1598), a poem with a long afterlife made longer by its numerous imitators and hangers- on, by intertextually layering its many continuations. At the same time, just as Jonson uses these post-Marlovians to read Hero and Leander, Horace is the lens through which he reads the larger processes of reception at work in Bartholomew Fair. From Horace, Jonson found articulations of the tension inherent to writing for the few and the many at the same time. As part of Bartholomew Fair’s ongoing investment in the afterlives of a text, Jonson stages the impossibilities of a tidy and linear reception.
MA in Museum Studies candidate, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
“It Hath Been Diverse and Sundry”: Curating the Early Modern Page Online
This talk will preview a digital exhibition that draws from CRRS’s Rare Books Collection and works in the interdisciplinary space of book history and print culture. Typographia takes three glyphs common on the Early Modern printed page – asterisk, pilcrow, hedera – as departure points for investigations in material history, literary studies, paleography, and epigraphy. Its eclectic approach, rooted in scholarship but directed to a lay audience, takes structural and discursive cues from the Metaphysical conceit, a trope as invested in the form of its thinking as in the content of its thought. Developed on Twine, an HTML-based platform for building interactive nonlinear narratives, Typographia aspires to the volatile equilibrium found in the Metaphysical lyric, which holds formal rigour and improvisatory play in a volatile equilibrium.