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Additional info for Ben Jonson: The Critical Heritage
Yet from a different perspective the critical work of earlier centuries remains important. Because Jonson was peculiarly self-conscious about his project as a writer, because he felt his work was decisive in the making of the culture of his time, the conditions in which it originated and its immediate and longer-term reception remain crucial for its understanding. How is the personality that forces itself on audiences’ and readers’ attention in Jonson’s work to be reckoned with? Is his active self-promotion reprehensible, and does it reduce the power of the work?
85 The terms are from John Aikin’s note to ‘Still to be neat, still to be dressed…’ from Epicoene in his anthology Vocal Poetry, or, A Select Collection of English Songs (1810), p. 166. Morison’, Studies in the Literary Imagination (1973), vi, 139–42. Roscoe, ‘Ben Jonson’, National Review (1858), vi, 139–47. 87 Tennyson is quoted in Hallam, Lord Tennyson, Alfred Lord Tennyson: A Memoir (1897), ii, 73. The MS of The Golden Treasury with Tennyson’s notes is in the British Library (Add. s. ii, 54–63.
79 It was this ‘nameless something’, or ‘soul’, that Schlegel valued most highly of all. The first comments by another German Romantic, Ludwig Tieck, are early enough to be included in this volume (No. 181). Tieck was greatly interested in Jonson, but in the end saw his importance only in terms of Shakespeare, as following the false trail of an opposite kind of art as far as it could go and thus providing the perfect foil for the achievement of his contemporary. Of the English Romantics, Hazlitt elaborated the comparisons with Shakespeare most damningly.
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