Your browser is not supported. This might affect how the content is displayed.


About The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online

What is available on The Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson Online and how does it differ from the print edition?

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 thousands 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 using the text comparison tool.

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.

Technical Questions

In which browser does the site perform best?

The site performs best in IE9 or above, Firefox or Chrome. The search capabilities, in particular, are not as effective in versions below IE9.

Can I use my ipad/tablet to view the site?

Use of the site on mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, is not supported, in large part due to the memory requirements of the site and the large amount of data required to be moved between the site's server and the user's device.

The audio files aren’t working as expected, what should I do?

Once you have clicked on the relevant MIDI file, the file should automatically download. You then need to click on the downloaded file to listen to the file within your chosen audio player.

Please note: In order to play the MIDI (*.mid) files from the Music area of the site, your computer must have audio capabilities (i.e. sound hardware and a set of speakers or headphones). The following software is suggested (it is free, and typically ready to use on most computers):

  • PC running Windows: Media Player

  • Mac running OS X: QuickTime Player

If you are a Windows user and unable to play the MIDI files (i.e. you hear no sound), you may find the following advice helpful:

Please note we are unable to support any specific problems you may encounter trying to use the MIDI files.

How do I use the text comparison tool?

The text comparison tool can be seen when viewing content within the ‘Works’ section of the site and allows the user to view the old-spelling edition alongside the modern-spelling edition of the Works.

On first use, pop-ups will guide you through the use of the buttons within this tool.

The ‘Synchronise text’ button anchors both texts so they stay synchronized within their windows, even when the user scrolls through the content. This aids comparison between particular sections of the Old and New works.

Example: Using the tool for ‘The Case is Altered':

1) Open the modern spelling edition of the text above within the Works section. Click on the table of contents, below ‘Current View’ and select ‘Act 1’

2) Click the icon of two arrows pointing towards each other in the top-right of the text box. A second text box should appear.

3) Within this box, click on the ‘Current view’ and choose the old-spelling edition (1609 quarto version) and select Act 1 in the table of contents

4) Make sure 'Synchronize texts' is turned on (button text will be light-blue with border showing). If it’s not, click on this to turn it on

5) Click inside the right-pane and then scroll the text. Your selected texts are now synchronized.

6) As you scroll, you will see a shaded area jump from place to place. This shaded area shows what the text-viewer is currently finding to synchronize on.

Please note: The ‘Collation Notes’ and ’Commentary’ buttons are switched on by default. Simply click on these buttons to switch them off. This will remove the icons for these functions within the text.

How does the search work?

The global search across the entire site (top-right of the homepage) is only accessible for users that have purchased access.

Search boxes within each section of the site, ‘Essays’ for example, can be freely accessed.

The global search searches every type of content in the project, excluding the static pages. The content-type-specific searches (such as the one you see within Works for example) only searches within documents of the same type as the section of the website you are in.

Searching for a word you enter in a search box searches all the text content of a document, which includes title and body. The search results are sorted by date and then by relevance.  You don’t need to use the search box on the ‘content-type-specific’ searches though, you can use the filters instead (equally you can carry out a text search and then use the filters to further pare down the results).

The Lucene query syntax is supported in the search boxes; this includes boolean, proximity, wildcards, etc. Note that doing several single term text searches is the same as doing a single AND search.

If you carry out a global search, you will only see one filter at first (Type).  Once this has been selected further filters become available depending upon the selection you made.

What do ‘O’ and ‘M’ mean in the search results?

O = Old spelling edition of the content

M= Modern spelling edition of the content

Editorial questions

I have noticed an error with the content, who should I contact?

Please contact [email protected].