Synopses & Reviews
The Renaissance court masque, traditionally an entertainment of music, dancing, pageantry, and spectacular scenic effects was transformed by Ben Jonson into a serious mode of literary expression. Because its flexibility provided a forum for his dramatic imagination, Jonson was able to resolve and transcend the satiric vision that was in many ways the substance of his drama. He instructed as well as applauded his courtly audience and, with the aid of the great theatrical designer Inigo Jones, brought unity to the diverse elements of the masque, infusing them with a moral and poetic life.
In early 1969, Yale University Press published The Complete Masques, the first one-volume edition and the most carefully edited and annotated text available. A modernized version, the 576 page Complete Masques includes the faithful reprinting of Jonsons own glosses and notes, translated and annotated, as well as explanatory notes which offer the most detailed critical commentary ever undertaken. This abridged collection contains the most important of the works included in the large edition, and Mr. Orgels introduction which discusses Jonsons development of the masque in relation to Inigo Joness development of the illusionistic stage.
Mr. Orgel is associate professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley.
Renaissance court masques involved music, dance, pageantry, and spectacular scenic effects. The form was transformed by Jonson into a serious mode of literary expression. Includes Jonson's own notes and glosses, explanatory notes, and critical commentary. From the Yale Ben Jonson edition.