Urban(e) visualization and Early Modern drama: Ben Jonson’s ‘Spectral Cities’

Anthony W. Johnson


This paper explores urbanization, and the impact of new technologies on early modern dramatic visualization. It demonstrates how the frontispiece to Ben Jonson’s 1616 Folio summons up spectres of antiquity, high renaissance culture, and the renovatio urbis: reconfiguring them as models for new negotiations of the urban and urbane. It reveals how the Folio’s opening play, Every Man in his Humour, powerfully maps Florentine urban geography and practice onto its revised London setting. And, equally, how its closing masque, The Golden Age Restor’d, formally complements the programme of Jonson’s collaborator, Inigo Jones, for the new Whitehall Banqueting House (1622).


visualization; urban/e; diagrammatization; mapping; golden section; Ben Jonson; “Every Man in His Humour” (1598/1616); “Golden Age Restor’d” (1616)

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