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Every Man in His Humor (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Ben Jonson

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

Book Description

Renaissance comedy. Complete text, modernized English, critical and explanatory notes and Introduction. From the Yale ben Jonson edition.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 258 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 240 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1606209469
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B008472AUY
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Non activé
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4.0 étoiles sur 5 Challenging Reading, But Enjoyable - Comes in Two Versions 11 mai 2004
Par Michael Wischmeyer - Publié sur
Every Man in His Humor was one of Ben Jonson's earliest plays. Although it is a somewhat obscure work today, remarkably, when first performed in 1598 by the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the cast included Shakespeare, Burbage, and Kemp.

The term humor, derived from Latin word for fluid, refers to a Medieval and Renaissance medical theory that a man's health and personality were due to the balance (or imbalance) of four fluids, or humors: blood, phlegm, yellow bile (choler), and black bile (melancholy). The Elizabethan audience would have recognized that Jonson's characters were caricatures of various temperaments and personalities.

Jonson later significantly revised this play. The original 1601 quarto had a Florentine setting and Italian names. His revision, the 1616 folio version, substitutes a London setting with English characters. In my discussion below, I have noted the 1616 English characters using parenthesis.

Every Man in His Humour was more challenging than I expected. I was into Act 2 before I began to appreciate the interplay between the characters. For me the turning point occurred when the servant Mosca (weirdly named Brainworm in the London version) disguised himself as a penniless soldier looking for charity. I gradually recognized four intertwined themes:

1) Two young, high-spirited gentlemen, Lorenzo Junior (Edward Kno'well) and Prospero (Wellbred), deliberately encourage the foolish antics of other characters, quietly laughing at them in frequent asides.

2) Meanwhile, Lorenzo Senior (Kno'well) worries that his son is mixing with less reputable acquaintances.

3) Mosca (Brainworm) independently embarks on several zany ventures, all involving disguises, to assure that Lorenzo Junior (Edward Kno'well) is beholden to him.

4) And lastly, the merchant Thorello (Thomas Kitely) mistakenly convinces himself that his wife Biancha (Dame Kitely) and his sister Hesperida (Mistress Budget) are being wooed by the foolish mix of characters that has descended upon his home. (Shakespeare may have derived the name Othello from Jonson's jealous Thorello.)

I had difficulty keeping track of the numerous characters that wandered on and off the stage, reminding me of my first reading of Bartholomew Fair, a Jonson play with an even larger cast. The dialogue ranges from scholarly quotes in Latin to lower class slang. I found the footnotes to be helpful.

Both the original 1601 play and Jonson's revised 1616 version make good reading. I had the good fortune to find a copy of a parallel text edition (Regents Renaissance Drama series by University of Nebraska Press) of the 1601 quarto and the 1616 folio of Every Man In His Humour.

One last comment: Is it Humor or Humour? It makes a difference when conducting a title search.
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