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‘The true father of his family’: Bastardizing Authorship in Jonson’s Volpone
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Languages.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2469-6431
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

A powerful strand of Alison Findlay’s discussion in her Illegitimate Power concerns the legitimacy of early modern theatre and the way in which the figure of the bastard embodies such issues. She argues that “the playhouses were like the bastard: they demonstrated the full imposition of patriarchal authority and they marked the limits of that authority” (214). However, her parallel could be extended beyond strictly theatrical concerns to the notion of the author and the negotiation of writerly authority in early modern culture. Few authors from the period could be said to exemplify this better than Ben Jonson, whose Volpone features “Bastards, / Some dozen or more” with notable deformities and a “true father . . . who has given ‘em nothing”. While it is no news that the court of Volpone can be associated with the court of James I (and Jonson’s troublesome relation to it), the figure of the bastard arguably undermines the legitimacy of the patron – writer relationship and raises the issue of Jonson’s own place in the early modern literary system as well as the author’s role in the shifting early modern literary system. “Hear yourself written bastard: and professed / The common issue of the earth”: Mosca’s words to Bonario may also be taken as a comment on the writer who “writes bastards” and is, through his very profession, both an insider and an outsider, united with the patron through his writing yet also, forever, a potential (re)producer of illegitimate authority.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Ben Jonson, authorship, bastards, illegitimacy, Volpone
National Category
Humanities General Literature Studies
Research subject
Humanities, English literature; Humanities, Comparative literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-46423OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-46423DiVA: diva2:855767
Conference
Shakespeare's Europe, Europe's Shakespeare(s): European Shakespeare Association Research Congress, 29 June - 2 July 2015, University of Worcester, UK
Available from: 2015-09-22 Created: 2015-09-22 Last updated: 2016-05-03Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
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  • text
  • asciidoc
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