Drama Society in the Age of Jonson Author:L.C. Knights Professor Knights has called his opening chapter "Shakespeare and Profit Inflations" - which suggests at once the originality of his approach to the dramatists with whom he deals. In this book he has mapped the social and economic bases of Elizabethan-Jacobean culture and then proceeded to a study of the drama of the period in relation to it. ... more »He has, in fact, taken the Marxist theory of the close bearing of economics on literature and has endeavored to test it.
The first portion of the book deals with social and economic conditions in early seventeenth century England and the major changes resulting from the rise of capitalism. the second portion is critical, analyzing the work of Jonson, Dekker, Heywood, Middleton, and Massinger, and showing how the plays of the seventeenth century reveal the attitudes, values, and assumptions of the period. The essential life of a period, writes Professor Knights, is best understood through it's literature, not because of what literature describes, but because of what it embodies. The purpose of the book is thus not to catalogue social and economic themes in seventeenth-century drama, but to provide insight into the mind of the period through a study of its literature - a purpose in which it admirably and gracefully succeeds.« less