Shakespeare may get all the love on the modern stage, but his contemporary Ben Jonson has just grabbed a share of the limelight in cyberspace.
The new Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online, produced by a team of 30 scholars and available partly on an open-access basis, presents the texts of all his plays, masques, poems, letters and criticism in an interactive digital format, along with hundreds of supporting documents and musical scores and a bibliography. There is also a database of some 1,300 stage and screen productions, from the 1598 staging of Jonson’s play “Every Man in His Humor” at the Curtain Theater in London to the 2011 film
“Anonymous,” described as “a historically fanciful examination of the Shakespearean authorship controversy, with Ben Jonson cast as a go-between for Edward de Vere and the fake playwright William Shakespeare.”
If his views of modern literary conspiracy theories and Hollywood mash-ups are unknown, the project’s editors suggest Jonson would have been the first to embrace the Internet.
“In his own time, he was deeply engaged with what the new print technology meant for the presentation of his works,” Martin Butler, the general editor, said in a statement. “I like to think that today he’d have been just as fascinated with the impact of the new digital media.”
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