Jonson, Horace and the Classical Tradition.
Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2015. 1st paperback ed. 248p. Paperback. 'This study sets out to highlight the pervasive influence of Horace on Jonson. Horace, Moul argues, was a lens through which other authors, ancient and modern, were refracted: ‘even when Jonson uses his poetry to think about and engage with other authors, he so often does so in juxtaposition, contention or conversation with an Horatian voice’ (p. 6). This voice, moreover, has been obscured by literary history. The ‘Horatian voice’ as Jonson constructed it is neither the voice echoed by Jonson’s acolytes, the self-styled ‘Sons of Ben’, nor the voice to which modern classicists tend to listen: ‘Jonson, in accord with his time and culture as well as his own personality, takes Horace seriously in all the ways that we, currently, find hardest to appreciate - as a laureate poet of politicised praise, as a literary critic, as a moralist and as a friend’ (p. 12). The fifth chapter is the most interesting. It treats Jonson as a translator, and then as an object of translation, beginning with an assessment of his English rendition of the Ars Poetica. Later on (p. 192 f.), Moul uses often-overlooked manuscript evidence to discuss the ways in which Jonson’s Horatianism was received by his contemporaries, and the part played by his poems in a broader ‘culture of translation, and especially of Horace and Horatianism’. Readers will be grateful for the transcriptions of this material given in an appendix. Similarly welcome will be the index of passages discussed, a tool often found in Classics monographs, and not often enough in their English Literature counterparts. Almost every page of this book evinces an author whose knowledge of Horace, and of the other authors dealt with, especially Pindar, Martial, and Juvenal, will be the envy of almost anyone who works on the early modern period. Moul is highly sensitive to every echo of Horace in Jonson’s work, and the allusions she identifies rarely seem tenuous. Equally clear is the extent of her familiarity with Jonson himself, particularly his poems. Her expertise in these two areas makes this book the definitive literary-critical study of the Horatianism of Jonson’s poetry. Moul claims, however, to offer much more than that.(...) Scholars of reception need to pay more attention to the gap between the notion of antiquity of someone like Jonson and the circles in which he moved, and the much more circumscribed curriculum of authors forming ‘the classical tradition’ to which modern-day Classics graduates are exposed.' (NICK HARDY in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2011.01.26).