Synopses & Reviews
Excerpt from Ben Jonson and the Classical School
The characteristics of Jonson as the exponent of the con servative spirit in literature in an age conspicuous for its passionate love of novelty are somewhat these: an unusual acquaintance with the literature of Greece and Rome, a hold ing of the prose writers and poets of antiquity, to employ the happy phrase of the late Mr. J ohn Addington Symonds, in solution in his Spacious memory, and a marvelous ability to pour them plastically forth into the mould of thought a keen appreciation of the principles which lie at the root of classical literature, with an intelligent recognition and a liberal interpretation of those principles in their adaptation to the needs of contemporary English conditions. The rhetorician in J onson was alike his distinction and his greatest limitation. It was this which gave him an ever-present sense of an inspir ing design, whether it was in the construction of a complete play or in the selection and ordering of the words of a single clause. These more general characteristics of the classicist will be recognized at once as J onson's but even the specific qualities that mark the coming age of English classicism are his. We have already remarked J onson's fondness for satire and criticism, and his exceeding use of that species of applied poetry called occasional verse. Restriction in the range of subject is always attended bya corresponding restriction ir yle and form, and we are prepared to find in Jonson's occajional verse a strong tendency to precise and pointed antithetical diction, and a somewhat conventionalized and restricted metri cal form. If we will look at Jonson's prose we shall find other notes only less marked of the coming classical supremacy, in his slightly Latinized vocabulary and in his occasional preference for abstract over concrete expression.
About the Publisher
Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com
This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.