Ben Jonson: A Life

Blair Worden writes:

There has been no more authoritative or assured biography of a Renaissance writer, and none that has more successfully brought historical and literary insights together. If Donaldson’s self-effacing prose (so un-Jonsonian a quality) and the quietness of his reasoning may occasionally obscure the novelty and penetration of his narrative, there is no missing the surges of power when he tackles hitherto unyielding biographical mysteries. The reasons for Jonson’s journey to Scotland are one such high point, his appearance before James I when his friend the historian John Selden was in trouble another.

(LRB 11 October 2012)

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