Ben Jonson Additional Biography


(Critical Guide to Censorship and Literature)

0111201560-Jonson.jpg Ben Jonson (Library of Congress) Published by Salem Press, Inc.

Of humble Scottish origins, Jonson was fortunate in receiving a sponsorship to the Westminster School, one of England’s best. After apprenticing to a bricklayer, he joined the English army. Later, he entered what proved to be an equally dangerous profession by becoming an actor at the Rose Theatre. At that time, actors were continually under suspicion for personal immorality, slander, and political subversion.

Shifting from acting to writing, Jonson helped Thomas Nashe complete a play, The Isle of the Dogs, which the Privy Council decided was lewd in 1597. Its authors and lead actors were ordered arrested. Jonson spent over two months in prison before it was decided that no major offense had taken place. By...

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(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Tradition has it that Benjamin Jonson was born in 1572; literary historians put his birth in 1573, probably on June 11. His father, an Anglican minister, died about a month before Jonson was born. His mother married a master bricklayer in 1574; the family lived in Westminster. While growing up, Jonson attended Westminster School and became a student of William Camden, who was perhaps the greatest classicist and antiquarian of the Elizabethan and Jacobean ages. Jonson’s interest in classical literature, his care in constructing what he wrote, and his respect for learning all have their origins in the teachings of Camden. Techniques for writing that Jonson used throughout his life were first learned from Camden, including the...

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(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Benjamin Jonson’s father, a minister, died a month before his son’s birth. Ben’s mother remarried, apparently fairly soon thereafter, the stepfather being a master bricklayer of Westminster. A friend enrolled Jonson at Westminster School, but (as he told William Drummond) he was taken from school at about the age of sixteen and put to a “Craft,” presumably bricklaying. Unable to endure this occupation, Jonson escaped briefly into the wars with the Netherlands. The next few years (roughly, his early twenties) are the most obscure of Jonson’s life. At some point during this time, he married and began having children, although practically nothing is known about his wife or family.

Jonson reappears in the late...

(The entire section is 589 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Benjamin Jonson, posthumous son of a minister, was born in or near London, England, on June 11, 1573. He received an excellent foundation in classical letters at Westminster School under headmaster William Camden, a famous scholar. Although unable to continue his education at a university, he was an avid reader and on his own became a serious student of classical language and literature. For a time, Jonson followed his stepfather’s bricklaying trade, but in 1591 he went to the Low Countries to fight in the army. According to his own account, he bravely killed a foe in view of both the English and enemy camps.

Jonson returned to London in 1592, and two years later married Anne Lewis. In the next year or two, he began...

(The entire section is 773 words.)


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

For forty years, Ben Jonson was the preeminent literary force in England. He was the leading comic dramatist of Jacobean England, the most highly esteemed creator of masques, a celebrated poet, a cultivator of new literary talent, and an arbiter of his day’s literary taste.

Centuries after Jonson’s death, his dramatic and poetic legacy remains significant. Such plays as The Alchemist and Volpone are still being produced. Moreover, Jonson’s more ambitious poems are, along with his lyrics, now viewed as the products of an inspired genius. Among English authors, there are few whose works have weathered the passage of time as successfully as have those of Jonson.


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

One of the most colorful personalities and the leading man of letters of his age, Benjamin Jonson left a vigorous impression on his time. Jonson was born in or around London on June 11, 1573. His father, a minister, died a month before Ben was born, and his widowed mother married a bricklayer. By 1580 Jonson was studying with William Camden, one of the finest scholars of his day, at Westminster School. From Camden, Jonson drew his delight and his competence in classical languages and literatures, and learned much of his own country’s history and literature. The Westminster boys also did three plays a year in English and Latin, experiences that constituted Jonson’s apprenticeship for the stage.

After leaving...

(The entire section is 1089 words.)


(Poetry for Students)

Ben Jonson Published by Gale Cengage

Ben Jonson was born in London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, sometime between May 1572 and January 1573. His father, a clergyman, died...

(The entire section is 492 words.)


(Drama for Students)

Jonson was born in about 1572. The date is uncertain, since Elizabethans were very casual about the recording of exact dates. He was a...

(The entire section is 521 words.)