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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

Chapter 11 - Noble Masquing at the Stuart Court

from Part III - Reassessing the Stuart Masque


This chapter provides the readers with a reassessment of the Stuart masque. In order to have a broader perception of the Stuart masque texts themselves, Barroll contrasts them with the livrets of a number of ballets presented at the contemporary courts of France. Then, turning to Jonson, Barroll observes that if one considers the literary values in the printed texts of Ben Jonson’s masques, they emerge as uneven records of his oeuvre. The poet’s various attempts to influence the transmission of his masques have affected our assumptions about them. Barroll pays specific attention to the transmission history of Oberon and Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly, first printed, with four others, in Jonson’s 1616 Folio. Beyond our sense of Jonson’s inclination to present all his F1 masques not as multi-dimensional spectacles but as literary endeavors, another factor may well have contributed to this great difference in detail between the Oberon and Love Freed texts, Barroll suggests. This was the changed atmosphere of the 1615 as opposed to the 1610 Stuart court.