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In the Times Literary Supplement for 22 March 2013, Martin Wiggins announced that he had uncovered an important new document relating to Prince Henryâ€™s Barriers. Jonsonâ€™s speeches, presented at Whitehall on 6 January 1610, had been designed to introduce a chivalric show in which the 15-year-old Prince Henry demonstrated his skill in the management of arms. Helped by six supporters and adopting the persona of Meliadus, Prince of the Isles, Henry demonstrated his chivalric prowess by fighting at pike and sword against 56 opponents. Jonsonâ€™s text, spoken by Merlin, the Lady of the Lake, and the spirit of King Arthur himself, is fulsome in praise of Henry, but it does not reveal what the fictional cause was over which he claimed to be fighting. Martin Wigginsâ€™s document, which is the original â€˜challengeâ€™ spoken at Whitehall seven days earlier, now fills in that gap.
Contribution by Martin Butler
Contribution by John Creaser,Â editor ofÂ Bartholomew Fair
The Globe Theatre, London, is mounting a staged reading of Cynthia's Revels on Sunday, 2 December at 3pm, preceded by an introductory discussion at 12 noon-2pm. ThisÂ is probably the first time that the play has been publicly performed since the seventeenth century.
A long review essay by Blair Worden,Â discussing the edition and Ian Donaldson's Life of Ben Jonson, can be found in the London Review of Books for 11 October 2012. Worden asks whatÂ the impact of the edition is likely to be forÂ today's picture of Jonson, and how electronic editing affects our idea of Jonson'sÂ self-presentation asÂ author.