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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: September ::
Re: "Newly Discovered" Jonson Masques
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.1605  Thursday, 23 September 1999.

[1]     From:   Stephen Orgel <
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        Date:   Thursday, 16 Sep 1999 12:29:54 -0700
        Subj:   "Newly Discovered" Jonson Masques

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Friday, 17 Sep 1999 07:53:12 GMT
        Subj:   Re: Newly-discovered Ben Jonson-Inigo Jones Masques


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stephen Orgel <
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Date:           Thursday, 16 Sep 1999 12:29:54 -0700
Subject:        "Newly Discovered" Jonson Masques

Dear Hardy,

The Jonson masque story is a complete fabrication. What was found are
simply Love's Triumph and The Fortunate Isles, printed pages taken from
the 2nd folio. There's a letter about it from Martin Butler and David
Lindley forthcoming in the guardian. Here's what Ian Donaldson wrote me:

>Yesterday's Guardian reported the discovery of two new and hitherto quite
>unknown masques by Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones.  The 'manuscripts' surfaced
>at Wilton House.  They're called (wait for it) Love's Triumph Through
>Callipolis and The Fortunate Isles. Scrutinizing the large photograph
>sceptically Martin realized what was displayed were seemingly printed
>pages taken from the second folio.  He rang the man at the Wiltshire
>Record Office who sheepishly confessed that he'd been 'misreported'.  The
>whole story in short is a beat-up.  Martin and David Lindley have written
>to The Guardian to say as much.  Meanwhile the story is evidently
>spreading to north America, as I'm beginning to get excited emails from
>those who've heard it. Newsmongering: Jonson would have loved it.

Best regards,
Stephen Orgel
Department of English
Stanford University

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Friday, 17 Sep 1999 07:53:12 GMT
Subject: 10.1597 Newly-discovered Ben Jonson-Inigo Jones
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.1597 Newly-discovered Ben Jonson-Inigo Jones
Masques

I'm afraid this find is neither so interesting nor so significant as
newspaper reports claimed.  In the first place, it is NOT a manuscript.
The photograph printed in the Guardian newspaper clearly showed the
archivist holding up a printed text.  Enquiries by my colleague, Martin
Butler, (one of the three general editors of the major new Ben Jonson
edition) established that the page numbers on this text were identical
to those of the 1640 Folio - from which in one way or another this book
had clearly derived.

So it's not a manuscript, nor are the masques 'new'.  All that's
happened is that an old book has been found, not surprisingly, in an old
house.

Apart, then, from indicating that modern journalists see no difference
between manuscript and print this is a 'discovery' of little import.  I
believe that some kind of correction will be printed in today's papers,
at Professor Butler's instigation.

David Lindley
School of English
University of Leeds
 

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