Yearling, R (2016) 'The Poets' War Revisited'. Ben Jonson Journal: literary contexts in the age of Elizabeth, James, and Charles, 23 (2). pp. 231-245. ISSN 1755-165X

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This essay seeks to explore the role played by John Marston in the so-called War of the Poets – the literary quarrel between a small group of playwrights, including Marston, Ben Jonson, Thomas Dekker, and perhaps William Shakespeare, in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. Marston's role in the War is problematic because although there are figures in his drama who might seem intended to be read as hostile portraits of Jonson, all of these figures are ambiguous, appearing to resemble Marston himself as much as they do his rival. I argue that this is because Jonson and Marston were participating in the War for very different reasons: Jonson in order to distinguish himself from his fellow satiric dramatists and Marston to emphasise the similarities between himself and his colleague. Marston may have done this in order to mock satiric dramatists as a class, but he may also have wanted to irritate Jonson by suggesting that Jonson was not as unique or individual as he liked to believe.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © The Author, Edinburgh University Press. This is the author accepted manuscript of a paper published by Edinburgh University Press and available in final form at Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: literature, criticism, poetry
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2016 09:19
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2017 01:30

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