CUP to launch online Jonson archive

CUP to launch online Jonson archive

The complete writings of Ben Jonson will soon be available in an online archive which took Cambridge University Press 15 years to complete.

The publisher has described the interactive online archive - which includes 158 modern spelling texts, 550 contextual documents, 80 essays, 100 music score and details of 1,300 stage performances - as “a landmark project”.

The website will launch on 28th January.

A selection of the online content - some essays, the timeline, a performance calendar and a blog - will be made available for free.

Professor Martin Butler, general editor of the project, said: “Jonson had one of the busiest and most influential careers of any English Renaissance writer. In his own time, he was deeply engaged with what the new print technology meant for the presentation of his works. I like to think that today he'd have been just as fascinated with the impact of the new digital media. By presenting his works in modern spelling and chronological sequence and now with an added treasure trove of archive material, the online edition lets the richness and complexity of his work shine through, making him fully accessible again to modern readers and performers.”

Sarah Stanton, publishing director for humanities at CUP, said that although it has been 15 years since CUP secured the contract for the Ben Jonson edition, she was “still finding nuggets of Jonson's vast output that are completely new to me and which are now available for others to discover and enjoy.”

Advanced digital functionality in the online archive will provide users with enhanced search capabilities as well as a text comparison tool allowing different versions of transcriptions to be viewed together.

Jonson is best known as the playwright who wrote comedies Volpone, Every Man in his Humour, The Alchemist and Bartholomew Fair, but he was also a poet, prose writer and literary critic.