Abstract

Ben Jonson's works display an unusual knowledge of minerals and the technology of metalworking. Detailed references to poetic creation as blacksmithing underline his respect for careful revision, but also complicate the usual Senecan understanding of poetry as a liberal art. Contemporary practices of tempering, chemically transforming and mining metals receive significant moral applications in works such as Sejanus and The Alchemist. In The Golden Age Restor'd, with reference to Ovid's myth of the decline of the world, Jonson suggests that only a process of moral refinement, as modelled by the virtuous labourer in metals or poetry, can keep James I's new Golden Age from reversion to the Age of Iron

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 57-72
Launched on MUSE
2007-01-10
Open Access
No
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