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Bartholomew Fair

by Ben Jonson Manchester University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 208 pages
AU$22.99 NZ$23.47
Product Status: Out of stock. Not available to order.
Bartholomew Fair is the climactic play of Ben Jonson's great comic period. Using the Fair as a symbolic representation of religious, social and political conflicts in Jacobean England, Jonson satirizes Puritans, fortune hunters, country bumpkins and inept representatives of the justice system, along with sharpsters and conmen who inhabit the Fair. Rich in unforgettable characters like Ursula the Pig Woman, the disguised JP Adam Overdo and Trouble-all the wandering madman, Bartholomew Fair combines a celebration of festivity with an attack on the excesses of natural life. The play was produced simultaneously at Court and at the Hope Theatre, site of bear-baiting, and through his Introduction and the puppet-show with which the play concludes, Jonson reflects on the drama, the theatre, actors and his rivals Marlowe and Shakespeare.

This edition is the first to use the findings of feminist scholarship in examining the play's concern with forced marriage, pregnancy, sexual commerce and widowhood. Glosses and notes are intended for students and playgoers, clarifying the special languages and dialects Jonson employs to individualise the characters in his prose masterpiece.

The play

Suzanne Gossett is Professor of English at Loyola University, Chicago.