Ben Jonson's use of English folk ritual in the court masques

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Virginia Acheson Tucker (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Joseph Bryant

Abstract: A chronological study of the court masques of Ben Jonson reveals that he began composing masques using the purely classical elements which were the accepted devices of the day but that about 1610 he began to import elements which appear to have their basis in English folk ritual such as the mummers' play, the sword dance, and the plough play. Further study suggests that by 1616 Jonson had realized the full possibilities of the use of native ludi and from that time on used English elements with increasing confidence, producing a well-integrated series of masques in which classical and native motifs are happily blended. Of the fourteen masques written after 1616, only five lack elements taken from the native ludi.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1964
Jonson, Ben, $d 1573?-1637 $x Criticism and interpretation
Ritual in literature

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