Ben Jonson's Sejanus: historiography and the political tragedy

Beecher, D. A. (1972). Ben Jonson's Sejanus: historiography and the political tragedy. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (26MB)


Though Ben Jonson's Sejanus has received virtually no approbation as a work for the theater, it has yet been the subject of much critical attention. There is widespread recognition that the play is no ordinary failure, that it is a work full of learning, carefully structured and thematically potent, an intelligent effort to reform Renaissance historical tragedy. Still there is no agreement about what kind of achievement the play actually represents. The concern of this dissertation is with the intellectual origins of the play; it is a study in the traditions and methods which appear to have guided Jonson in his writing of Sejanus. It is my thesis that its genesis is to be found in Jonson's interest in non-literary discipines - history, methods of historical writing, politics and constitutional issues - rather than in literary criticism and conventions. Jonson found his new style in political history, his themes in the conflict between morality and the logistics of realpolitik.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Faculties (to 1997) > Faculty of Arts
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, The Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year