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Ben Jonson: Poetry and Architecture$
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A. W. Johnson

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198117599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198117599.001.0001

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Colonna and the Early Masques

Colonna and the Early Masques

(p.52) 3. Colonna and the Early Masques
Ben Jonson: Poetry and Architecture

A. W. Johnson

Oxford University Press

This chapter suggests that the early collaborative masques and entertainments open an exciting possibility – Ben Jonson and Inigo Jones appear to have used the Hypnerotomachia as an imaginative meeting-place, drawing on its narrative in order to pull a multiplicity of detail culled from handbooks, pattern books, and visual memory into a coherent form. The dream-like quality of Colonna's work – with its contrasts, transformations, instability between the real and the symbolic, and curiously undramatic action – made it an attractive model for the collaborators, as it seemed to answer formal problems peculiar to the masque. Accordingly they adapted it to their own requirements, condensing, displacing, and dramatizing the source material in a creative process that resembles the mechanisms which Freud – who remains one of the most acute observers of the workings of the imagination – has seen at work in the act of dreaming itself.

Keywords:   Ben Jonson, Inigo Jones, masques, entertainments, dreams, imagination

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