Every man in his humour

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This edition breaks with usual practice by presenting the 1601 quarto version of Jonson's play, set in Florence, instead of the revised 1616 version, set in London. Robert S. Miola presents a meticulously edited and modernized version of the play as originally acted by the Lord Chamberlain's Men (with Shakespeare in the cast) in 1598. He has collated all fifteen known copies of the quarto and consulted the revised folio version as well, so instead of simply endorsing the folio version as the superior play, the introduction seeks to understand the quarto version on its own terms. Miola explores the relevance of the Italian setting, particularly the potent, variegated, and fascinating body of myth and legend that constituted Italy for English audiences in 1598. The editor also illuminates the dramatic context of the play, outlining the rise of 'humors' comedy in Jonson and contemporaries like Chapman, Marston and Shakespeare. He gives detailed attention to the social, political and religious contexts of the play as well showing how larger cultural struggles shape the characters and action of the play. The textual history identifies the mysterious second printer of the quarto; the stage history reviews all significant performances of either version and corrects the received record.

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