Article Title

'Other Men's Provision': Ben Jonson's Parody of Robert White in Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Ben Jonson's Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue is now regarded as one of his most sophisticated and accomplished masques, which is why the reception that greeted its original performance has. always seemed somewhat puzzling. Various evidence suggests that its first audience-including King James-found the masque dull and disappointing. Further, although Jonson himself claimed that the work was well received, he quickly dropped the whole first section and improvised a new antimasque for a revised version of the work entitled For the Honour of Wales.1 Different explanations that have been offered for the poor reception accorded the original masque include the audience's inability to appreciate the innovative nature of its design as well as their possible offense at the masque's satirical implications, particularly its satire of courtly self-indulgence.2 However, contemporary evidence that has received insufficient attention throws an entirely new light on the masque, not only helping to explain its genesis but perhaps also providing new insight into the reasons for its poor reception.

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