Licensed by Authority: Ben Jonson and the Discourses of Censorship / Edition 1 available in Hardcover
- Pub. Date:
- Cornell University Press
A dramatist whose own works were repeatedly censored early in his career and who later stood in succession to become the court censor himself, Ben Jonson embodies the contradictions and complexities of theater censorship in the early Stuart period. Focusing on Jonson's writings and the political vicissitudes of his career, Richard Burt offers a provocative reinterpretation of Jacobean and Caroline theater censorship and theatrical culture.
Informed by the writings of Foucault and Bourdieu, Licensed by Authority historicizes censorship, arguing that it was less a matter of denying dramatists liberty of speech than a network of productive strategies for legitimating and delegitimating specific discursive practices. Burt draws on a rich body of archival and literary evidence, including plays by Shakespeare and by Jonson's Caroline contemporaries, in order to demonstrate that censorship was nurtured and sustained not only by a culturally diverse Stuart court but also by the playwrights themselves, along with theatrical entrepreneurs, printers, poets, and critics.