Volpone (New Mermaids) by Ben Jonson Book Summary:
Volphone's reverential prayer to his heaps of gold launches the sharpest, funniest play about money and morals in the 17th century - a play still wickedly relevant on the same topics four centuries later. Ben Jonson's comedy depicts selfishness thinly veiled by sanctimonious speeches, lust and possessiveness poorly disguised as love and marriage, and cynical legalism passing itself off as pure justice, alongside snobbery, class warfare and greed. The wily protagonists keep a dozen conventional plots spinning in the minds of their dupes, and when their amazing juggling act finally unravels, there are yet more twists - and an even deeper cynicisim - to the story. The play is partly a beast-fable: the wily fox, Volpone, plays dead to lure flesh-eating birds that he can then consume. But the beasts are the human race, and polite society the biggest, greediest scam of them all.This student edition contains a lengthy Introduction with background on the author, date and sources, critical interpretation and stage history.Robert N. Watson is Distinguished Professor of English at UCLA. His publications include Critical Essays on Ben Jonson (as editor) and Ben Jonson's Parodic Strategy. He also edited the New Mermaids edition of Every Man in His Humour.
Volpone and Other Plays (Penguin Classics) by Ben Jonson Book Summary:
The three plays collected in this volume depict the faults, errors and foibles of ordinary people with exuberant humour, savage satire and acute observations. Volpone portrays a rich Venetian who pretends to be dying so that his despised acquaintances will flock to his bedside with extravagant gifts in hope of an inheritance. The Alchemist also deals with greed and gullibility, as a rascally trio of confidence tricksters, claiming to have the legendary Philosopher's Stone, fool a series of victims who are hoping to make some easy money. And in a wonderfully energetic portrait of Jacobean life, Bartholomew Fair shows a diverse group of Londoners sampling the delights and temptations of the Fair - and the traders, prostitutes and cutpurses who set out to exploit them.For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Ben Jonson, Volpone and the Gunpowder Plot by Richard Dutton Book Summary:
This book was first published in 2008. Ben Jonson's Volpone is the most widely taught and commonly performed English Renaissance play outside of Shakespeare. However, the dramatic circumstances of its writing are little known. Jonson wrote the play very shortly after the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, an event in which he was personally involved. This book argues that the play alludes to the plot as openly as censorship will allow, using the traditional form of the beast fable. As a Roman Catholic himself, Jonson shared in the repression suffered by his co-religionists in the wake of the Plot, and the play fiercely satirizes the man they chiefly blamed for this, Robert Cecil. The elaborate format which Jonson devised for the 1607 edition of Volpone, with a dedication, Epistle and numerous commendatory poems, is reproduced here photographically, allowing the reader to appreciate Jonson's covert meanings and to approach the text as those in 1607 might have done.
Ben Jonson, Volpone and the Gunpowder Plot by Richard Dutton Book Summary:
Ben Jonson's Volpone is the most widely taught and commonly performed English Renaissance play outside of Shakespeare. However, the dramatic circumstances of its writing are little known. Jonson wrote the play very shortly after the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, an event in which he was personally involved. This book argues that the play alludes to the plot as openly as censorship will allow, using the traditional form of the beast fable. As a Roman Catholic himself, Jonson shared in the repression suffered by his co-religionists in the wake of the Plot, and the play fiercely satirizes the man they chiefly blamed for this, Robert Cecil. The elaborate format which Jonson devised for the 1607 edition of Volpone, with a dedication, Epistle and numerous commendatory poems, is reproduced here photographically, allowing the reader to appreciate Jonson's covert meanings and to approach the text as those in 1607 might have done.
Volpone and The Alchemist (Dover Thrift Editions) by Ben Jonson Book Summary:
Much-studied and frequently performed, these comedies by the great Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson satirize the greed, mendacity, gullibility, and pretension of seventeenth-century London society. Both plays abound in colorful characters, ingenious plotting, biting wit, and sharp insight into human nature.In Volpone (1605), a crafty rich man attempts to augment his wealth by feigning a mortal illness. His wealthy neighbors, spying the opportunity for an inheritance, vie with each other in courting the “dying” man’s favor. The Alchemist (1610) comprises a likewise avaricious cast, headed by a butler and prostitute who join forces with a swindler claiming to possess the philosopher's stone. The trio hosts a parade of eager victims whose hypocrisy and greed place them on a moral footing similar to that of the tricksters. Both plays offer sparkling examples of their author's novel approach to satire and his distinctive blend of savagery, humor, moralism, and a powerful sense of the absurd.
Volpone in Context: Biters Bitten and Fools Fooled (Anthem Perspectives in Literature) by Keith Linley Book Summary:
Everything you need to know about the cultural contexts of 'Volpone'. The unremitting exposure of human vileness is black and bleak, redeemed perhaps by the eventual punishment of the wrongdoers in an outcome achieved more by luck than justice. This book provides detailed in-depth discussion of the various influences that a Jacobean audience would have brought to interpreting the play. How did people think about the world, about God, about sin, about kings, about civilized conduct, about the predatory impulses that drive men to prey upon each other? Historical, literary, political, sociological backgrounds are explained within the biblical-moral matrices by which the play would have been judged. This book links real life in the late 1600s to the world on the stage. Discover the orthodox beliefs people held about religion. Meet the Devil, the Seven Deadly Sins and human depravity. Learn about the social hierarchy, gender relationships, court corruption, class tensions, the literary profile of the time, attitudes to comedy – and all the subversions, transgressions, and oppositions that made the play a topical satire but also an unsettling picture of a world so close to disaster.
Four English Comedies of the 17th and 18th Centuries. (Volpone; The Way of the World; She Stoops to Conquer; The School for Scandal) by Ben; William Congreve; Oliver Goldsnith; Richard Brinsley Sheridan; Morrell, J. M. (editor) Jonson Book Summary:
Four English Comedies of the 17th and 18th Centuries. (Volpone; The Way of the World; She Stoops to Conquer; The School for Scandal)
The Alchemist and Other Plays: Volpone, or The Fox; Epicene, or The Silent Woman; The Alchemist; Bartholomew Fair (Oxford World's Classics) by Ben Jonson Book Summary:
This edition brings together Jonson's four great comedies Volpone, Epicene, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair. The texts of these plays have all been newly edited for this volume, and are presented with modernized spelling. Stage directions have been added to help actors and directors reconstruct the play the way it would have been performed in the seventeenth century, and the introduction, notes, and glossary further bring to life these timeless comedies for the modern reader.About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
001: The Selected Plays of Ben Jonson: Volume 1: Sejanus, Volpone, Epicoene or the Silent Woman (Plays by Renaissance and Restoration Dramatists) by Ben Jonson Book Summary:
This volume contains three of Ben Jonson's greatest plays - Sejanus (1603), Volpone (1606) and Epicoene, or The Silent Woman (1609). Sejanus, an experimental tragedy written in the classical manner, was labelled a seditious work at the time of its first production and embroiled Jonson with the Privy Council. Volpone is the first of his mature comedies, with a remarkable cast of Venetian legacy-hunters: using verse of mock-heroic grandeur Jonson created in the character of Volpone one of his most flamboyant and cynical swindlers. Epicoene is a brilliant farce which makes fun of the pretensions of the courtiers, wits and bluestockings of contemporary London. Jonson was unique in his own time for the close personal supervision he gave to the publication of his plays. As a result, the early published texts of the plays in this volume carry an unusually high degree of authorial intention. In preparing this modernised edition an attempt has been made to conserve something of the author's highly individual treatment of names, verb forms and punctuation.