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The date is significant if we are to understand the place of the folio version of Every Man In in Jonsonâ€™s stylistic and theatrical development. The choices most favoured in the on-going debate are some time around 1605 and 1612. In 1923 E. K. Chambers argued for the first date, noting that the revival at court on 2 February 1605 would have provided Jonson with an occasion for revision. Internal clues to support this date are, however, not very substantial. Bobadillâ€™s recounting of his presumed exploits at Strigonium â€˜some ten years nowâ€™ (3.1.92ff.) alludes to the Battle of Graan or ÃŠstergom in Hungary, recaptured from the Turks in 1595; but we need to consider that Bobadill is spinning a lie of epic proportions, and that when Brainworm, disguised as a wounded veteran, has his turn to recount his military career, he goes back all the way, in both quarto and folio texts, to the sieges of Aleppo (1516) and Vienna (1529). Internal evidence about the Turkish Grand Signor is no more substantial. Wellbredâ€™s letter to young Knowell promises him a present â€˜our Turkey company never sent the like to the Grand Signorâ€™ (1.2.69â€“70), which might have seemed especially relevant around after Christmas 1605, when a large gift was made to the Sultan, but this possible date has the disadvantage of coming after the court performance in February 1605. Moreover, payments to the Sultan were made in 1583 and 1593, and Dekkerâ€™s The Wonderful Year (1603) alludes familiarly to New Yearâ€™s gifts â€˜more in number and more worth than those that are given to the great Turk or the Emperor of Persiaâ€™.
On 30 April 2012, a public celebration of the edition and of Ian Donaldson's Life of Jonson was held at the British Academy, at which the three General Editors each spoke about their work on Jonson. An audio recording of the evening is now on the British Academy website and can be downloaded here (http://www.britac.ac.uk/cmsfiles/assets/11330.mp3).
Has anyone ever looked at Jonsonâ€™s inscription to Queen Anne in the British Library copy of The Characters of Two Royal Masques? This is the gift-copy of the masques of Blackness and Beauty which Jonson gave to Anne in 1608, and has an autograph Latin dedication to her. Unfortunately, there is an abbreviation which has resisted our best efforts at explanation. The inscription reads as follows:
The general editors are delighted to announce that the print version of the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson was published on 12 July 2012. To order the edition, please follow this link. The online edition is in preparation and will appear in spring 2013. Readers who are interested in the work that underlies the edition can consult the sixty textual essays on this website, written by our contributing editors, which give full technical analyses of the individual plays, poems, masques, and prose works (click on the tab for 'Essays' above).