Monday, December 16, 2019


Learned Allusion or Slice of Life?

Ben Jonson, Three Comedies: Volpone, The Alchemist, Bartholomew Fair. Edited by Michael Jamieson (1966; rpt. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1982), pp. 29-30 (from the editor's Introduction):
I have made no attempt to make a comprehensive survey of the numerous parallels with classical and Renaissance authors, nor have I tried to explain every learned allusion. Those who want to know, for example, that in The Alchemist, I,i,1, Subtle's 'I fart at thee!' is like the Latin oppedo and the Greek καταπέρδω will want to make use of Volume X of the Oxford Ben Jonson; others of us will continue to believe that such words were actually heard sometimes on the lips of Jonson's contemporaries.
Here is a quotation from The Alchemist (V,iii,45-46, on p. 301 of Jamieson's edition) that might be useful when you've detected that someone has broken wind in your presence:
Your stench it is broke forth; abomination
Is in the house.


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