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Pocket Maps and Public Poetry in the English Renaissance$
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Katarzyna Lecky

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198834694

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198834694.001.0001

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Jonson’s Broken Compasses and Bit Parts

Jonson’s Broken Compasses and Bit Parts

Chapter:
(p.109) 3 Jonson’s Broken Compasses and Bit Parts
Source:
Pocket Maps and Public Poetry in the English Renaissance
Author(s):

Katarzyna Lecky

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198834694.003.0003

Chapter 3 turns to Ben Jonson’s first laureate chapbook, His Part (1604), written for James I’s first royal entrance into London. Here, Jonson imagines the Inns of Court as a lodestone that disrupts the imperial compass marking the king as the pole star of the state. Instead, Jonson points to the ordinary people at the center of the king’s newly conjoined realm. Jonson’s poems measure the commonwealth according to the standards of civic identity in ways that anticipate the practicality of the numeric distance tables in Norden’s Intended Guyde (1624). An archival discovery of King James’s personal copy of the Guyde also shows the presence of popular cartography at the highest spheres of British governance, and offers a fresh perspective on the kinds of geographical knowledge shaping the intersections of space, place, and national identity in the early seventeenth century.

Keywords:   Ben Jonson, William Camden, John Norden, King James I, London, compass, distance table

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