Victor Lenthe, 2015-2016 Dana-Allen Dissertation Fellow
This article places Ben Jonson’s tragedy Sejanus His Fall (perf. 1603; pub. 1605) within a Catholic intellectual context that influenced the playwright during some of his most creative years, showing that the play’s antagonistic style has previously unrecognized points of social and political relevance. Building on recent interest in the early modern public sphere, I argue that Jonson’s famously combative style of drama offers a bold and original perspective on the experiences of English Catholics navigating public opinion in a society that could be deeply hostile to them.