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A few exciting Jonson volumes have turned up in the last few months which may interest readers of this occasional blog. One is a book from Jonson’s own library: Adagia, sive proverbia Graecorum (Antwerp, 1612) by Andreas Schottus. This book, which has hitherto been in a private collection and does not appear in David McPherson’s catalogue of Jonson’s library, has Jonson’s signature (‘Svm Ben: Ionsonij’) and motto (‘tanquam Explorator’). It will be sold later this year at Sotheby’s.
Last week I managed to catch the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Volpone at Stratford before the end of the run. I was looking forward to seeing Henry Goodman in the title role, as he is such a thrilling actor; I still have powerful memories of him as Kitely in the RSC Every Man In in 1986. His marvellous ability to create empathy was very much in evidence last week, though as things went on I came to think empathy is not the top quality one needs for Volpone, whose heartlessness and recklessness need equally to be on the top. Goodman managed to find some humanity in the character, but at some cost to the caustic humour and edginess.
Contribution by Christopher Highley, Ohio State University
An interesting copy of the 1616 Jonson folio is listed in a recent catalogue by the specialist booksellers Maggs Bros. Ltd (catalogue 1471, 2013, item 46). This copy was sold at auction in October 2012, and has now been bought by the Folger Shakespeare Library. The book is yet to reach the shelves at the Folger, but the following preliminary account is based on details from Maggs’s catalogue.
We are holding a colloquium to mark the completion of the print edition and the release of the online edition on Friday 30 May 2014, in the Special Collections department at the Brotherton Library, University of Leeds. Admission and refreshments are free, but for the sake of catering please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to attend.