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About

Updated in spring 2015, The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online  now contains a wealth of additional content, including the recently discovered diary of Jonson's 'Foot Voyage' to Scotland, extra letters written to Jonson, early attempts at a biography, further material relating to  the masques and poems and numerous contemporary references to Jonson's works and reputation.

The online edition presents Jonson’s complete writings for readers of the twenty-first century, in the light of current editorial thinking and recent scholarly interpretation and discovery. It offers a clear sense, afforded by no other previous edition, of the shape, scale, and variety of the entire Jonsonian canon. At the same time, it is the first edition to use digital technology to give a dynamic insight into Jonson’s processes of composition and to reveal the editorial choices which underpin the modernized text.

The Print Edition was published by Cambridge University Press in July 2012. This provides well-annotated modernized texts for pleasurable reading and serious study for anyone wishing to explore the work of Shakespeare’s greatest contemporary. The Online Edition presents a fully searchable version of the Print Edition, including all the original introductions, collations, and commentary, but it complements, develops, and vastly extends the Print Edition with a large and flexible array of textual and contextual materials. The textual components consist of hundreds of digital images and dozens of searchable old-spelling transcriptions of the early printed versions of Jonson’s texts and some of the major manuscripts. Presented in an array that allows both for individual viewing and for on-screen comparison, these images and old-spelling texts can be explored independently or in close conjunction with the modern-spelling version. The reader can call up any combination of modern-spelling text, old-spelling transcriptions, and digital images, and move flexibly between them. Together, they give an unprecedented sense of the character and richness of Jonson’s texts in their early published forms, and their complex and diverse variants

In addition, the Online Edition includes a comprehensive body of essays and archives necessary for full study of Jonson’s life, performance history, and afterlife. In total, the edition contains 167 modern-spelling and 76 old-spelling texts, 590 contextual documents, 89 essays, over 4000 high-quality images, and nearly 150 music scores with accompanying MIDI files. It also lists details of more than 1400 stage performances, and has a cross-linked bibliography of over 6700 items. Other archival materials include a Literary Record, transcribing documents relating to Jonson’s reputation and afterlife, edited by Hugh Craig; the Foot Voyage into Scotland, a recently-discovered diary of Jonson’s walk to Edinburgh in 1618, edited by James Loxley, Julie Sanders, and Anna Groundwater; ten letters written to Jonson, edited by Ian Donaldson, Jason Rosenblatt and Winfried Schleiner; essays on writings dubiously ascribed to Jonson, edited by Karen Britland; and additional collations to Jonson’s non-dramatic verse as it is reproduced in 550 scribal manuscripts, by Colin Burrow. The Online Edition is designed to allow this wealth of additional content to be accessed independently or used in close interaction with the modern-spelling text.

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