Monday, October 21, 2013


It's a funny thing, because I say it is.  Shakespeare passed away before Ben Jonson.  At the time Jonson was more considered a major writer. The balance tipped in Shaleseare's favor in a big way during the 19th cnentury.  Now the Bard is praised and Jonson is domestic and forgotten.  Yet there's that whole authorship question, as silly as it might be.  Everyone knoss who Will Shakespeare is, and thousands refuse to believe he wrote anything. 

I wonder if there's a lot of teasing that goes on in  the afterlife over things like this.


susan said...

"He was, indeed, honest, and of an open and free nature, had an excellent phantasy, brave notions, and gentle expressions, wherein he flowed with that facility that sometimes it was necessary he should be stopped". Jonson concludes that "there was ever more in him to be praised than to be pardoned." Also when Shakespeare died, he said, "He was not of an age, but for all time."

That last is from a poem Ben Jonson wrote on Shakepeare's death. They may not have been friends but there was a lot of mutual respect and I'm guessing some mutual hilarity when they met again.

Ben said...

I love that poem. And I'm pretty sure they were friends. It was a bitchy friendship, the kind that tends to arise when you're in both collaboration and competition with the other person, but it was there. And certainly they had mutual respect, as you say.

If Jonson is conscious of anything now I'm sure he is chagrined that his works are so rarely produced. And that is a shame, because he was a fascinating writer. But I don't think he'd want to take anything away from Shakes.